Courtesy: ‘History Of Srirangam Temple’ By Sri V.N.Hari Rao


The study of the history of the Srirangam temple has been rendered possible mainly by the remarkable advance of epigraphy in South India. An account based wholly on glorifying Mahatmyas and historically useless myths and legends is bound to be incomplete, indefinite and unreal. Most of the inscriptions in the Srirangam temple have been reported on and some of them edited in the publications of the Department of Epigraphy. Though there are a few Pallava inscriptions in the Trichinopoly cave and in Tiruvellarai and Uyyakondan Tirumalai near Srirangam the Srirangam temple itself contains no Pallava inscriptions. The earliest inscriptions are the Cola inscriptions of the 10th century A.D. and of these the first is dated in the 17th year of Parantaka I (907 - 953 A.D.) These are followed by the inscriptions of the Pandyas of the Second Empire. They record the numerous and rich benefactions made to the temple by these kings and are often setout in such great detail that they confirm in a large measure the account in the Vaisnava chronicles of the bountiful resources of the temple that lay at the back of the ceremonious conduct of worship and festivals for the God Renganatha. The state of prosperity enjoyed by the Srirangam temple under the patronage of benevolentHindu monarchs received a rude shock when the Mohammedans over-ran Ma’bar in the first half of the 14th century. The temple lost its landed property and became poor and destitute. It was restored with the revival of Hindu political power in South India under the leadership of Vijayanagar. The inscriptions, in the Srirangam temple, of the early Vijayanagar chieftains paint a picture of a conscious effort on their part to resuscitate the shrine as the celebrated centre of Hinduism that it had been. A large number of copper-plate grants begin to appear in the period of the later Vijayanagar kings and that of the Nayaks of Madurai. Most of these record the grant of villages to the wardens of the Srirangam temple. A few inscriptions of the mid-Vijayanagar period give us important and useful details about the governors of the Trichinopoly region and their

dealings with the Srirangam temple. By the beginning of the 18th century inscriptions fell into obsolescence and for the subsequent periods we depend mainly upon contemporary writings. The inscriptions help to furnish the appropriate political background to the Vaisnava tradition, enshrined in the Guruparamparai, which gives a continuous account of the succession of pontiffs at Srirangam. But the Guruparamparai belongs purely to the realm of hagiography and is not of much help to the historian. However, the correlation of political and religious data in inscriptions is not as complete as one might wish. Direct references, in the host of inscriptions, on the walls, pillars and plinths of the Srirangam temple, to the affairs and activities of the Vaisnava movement at Srirangam can be counted on one’s fingers’ ends. It is surprising that Ramanuja, who according to the authentic tradition of the Arayirappadi Guruparamparai, was for long (more than sixty years according to the Koil-Olugu) the manager of the affairs of the Srirangam temple, both spiritual and temporal, is not mentioned as such in any of its inscriptions. This applies also to his immediate predecessors and successors. Thus to all appearances we possess two sets of material for the reconstruction of the history of Srirangam temple, viz., the hagiologies and the inscriptions, which have nothing in common between them. But actually the position is not to be despaired of. The inscriptions of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries contain important references, though indirect and also few and far between, to the affairs and organisation of the Srirangam temple. An inscription of Kulottunga I dated 10881 (62 of 1892; Sii. III.70.) and another of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I dated 12252 (53 of 1892; SII.IV.500.) contain such references, casual in themselves and hence quite reliable. These references, for instance go to confirm the traditional account of Ramanuja’s activities in Srirangam. There are also a few inscriptions, of the same period, which mention Srirangam, Ramanuja and a few of his immediate disciples like Embar and Accan.3 (MAR.1913. p.36; 1908. p.9.) With the help of these and a few other inscriptions it is possible to check and verify the traditional account to some extent. Generally speaking inscriptions in South India are seldom purely historical in character; they register gifts and endowments of a public or private nature, to temples, mathas and Brahmins. As such they are of immense value to the history of any temple. A list of inscriptions of the Srirangam temple, arranged chronologically, presents a succinct sketch of the history of the property of the temple, in lands, gardens, jewels of gold and diamonds, lamps, vessels and other accoutrement for worship and finally in gold coins. In the days of the flourishing Hindu Rajas the temple received

very frequently rich presents not only from the local chiefs but also from their neighbours, who came down for the purpose of war or peace. The list of benefactors included important officers of the army, merchant-princes and private individuals. Whenever the peace of the country was violently disturbed the temple lost its all. When peace was restored it received fresh gifts and endowments. On the establishment of the British Raj, however, it ceased to be a landlord and became, like so many petty princes and Nawabs, a pensioner of the government. The major South Indian temple was the result of a gradual process of accretion; the number of sub-shrines containing the images of minor deities and sublimated devotees clustering around the main shrine were raised in different periods by beneficent princes. The only source for a proper study of the structural growth of the Srirangam temple is epigraphical. Here again a chronological list of the inscriptions in the temple furnishes a clear sketch of the physical growth of the temple. From a study of such a list it can be seen that a majority of the minor shrines were constructed in the 13th century, when the region round Srirangam was under the occupation of the Hoysalas and after them the Pandyas of the Second Empire. It is also known that some of the structures that had suffered damage during the Muslim occupation were repaired or reconstructed subsequently by the chieftains of Vijayanagar. The Koil-Olugu, which gives a detailed account of the several structures with the names of their builders and Saka dates, has, it is found, drawn its information largely from inscriptions. Over and above these, the inscriptions furnish various minor details useful for the history of the temple. For example a couple of inscriptions in Srirangam supply the rare and interesting information about the transfer of the management of certain shrines (the Dasavatara shrine and the Tirumangai Alvar Sannidhi) to new arcakas and the duties they were expected to perform in respect of their offices4. (100 and 102 of 193637) Again two inscriptions on the jambs of the Vellai gopuram in the temple tell us an episode of topical interest. They give us details of the selfimmolation of a few Jiyas and Ekangis of the temple, as a protest against insufficient allowances made by the local governor for the conduct of puja.5 (87 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 78) From the inscriptions we know that munificent Hindu kings founded in their names festivals that continue to this day, and established agraharas or Brahmin-habitations going by the name of Caturvedimangalams. Such are the Bhupati Udayar festival, called after Bhupati Udayar, a chieftain of Vijayanagar of the First Dynasty and Ravivarman-caturvedi-mangalam, called after the famous Ravivarman


The Early Tamil literature and the Prabandas of the Alvars
One of the Aham odes refers to Arangam and the Panguni festival on the banks of an adjacent river.6 (Aham 137) It is likely that this has reference to one of the important festivals of the Srirangam temple. Aham 400 or the Ahananuru is one of the oldest anothologies included in the classical Tamil literature, better known as the Sangam works. By common consent this group is assigned to the same age in which Ptolemy and the anonymous author of the Periplus wrote about South India, i.e., the first two or three centuries of the Christian era.7 (This period is sometimes extended so as to include the 5th century also) The Silappadikaram which is also included in this group, refers more definitely to the Srirangam temple. Roughly speaking the age of the Sangam literature is succeeded by the age of the historical Pallavas of Kanchi. Foe a history of the temple of this period the Prabandas of the Vaisnava mystics, going by the name of the Alvars, call for special notice. All the Alvars did not belong to the same age. A few were earlier and the rest later. The early Alvars are variously assigned to the 2nd century and the 5th century A.D. It has to be said that the Prabandas of the later Alvars furnish much interesting information about the state of the Srirangam temple 1,200 years ago. Though the poems contain very often idealized pictures yet they give some unfailing details about worship in the temple and the devotees of the god. The lives of the Alvars, as they are preserved in the hagiologies, again confirm these references and furnish fresh details, though these have to be utilised with great caution.

The legendary Stalamahatmya
People have generally loved to ascribe a hoary antiquity and invent sacred and edifying legends to glorify the sanctity of their sacred shrines. This has led to the rise of a whole mass of literature going by the name of ‘Stala Mahatmyas’ and ‘Stala Puranas’, mostly of recent origin. Though of little value because they bear no relation to the historical dates or events still they do not lack a quaint interest for the student of folk-lore and popular tradition. The Sriranga Mahatmya, which gives such an account of the Srirangam temple, is known in two varsions, viz., the ‘Satadyayi’ and the ‘Dasadyayi’, or the versions of ‘hundred chapters’ and ten chapters’, said to form part respectively of the Garuda Purana and the Brahmanda Purana; and surprisingly enough they are not to be traced in their originals. Such

apocryphal Mahatmyas are not histories, nor are they even chronicles; at best they are local ……………. of foundation-legends cherished by the popular mind.

The Koil-Olugu
Between legend and history stands the chronicle; and to this intermediate class is to be assigned the Koil-Olugu. The word ‘olugu’ means a record or a register, and ‘Koil’, in Vaisnava parlance, denotes Srirangam. Genealogical accounts were, sometimes, called ‘Olugus’, e.g., the ‘Annan Tirumaligai Olugu’, which is an account of the family of the Kandadaiyar of Srirangam. The Koil-Olugu is stated to be the work of ‘Purvacaryas’, i.e., the Acaryas of the past’, in other words it was not the work of a single writer belonging to a particular period but a temple record written and maintained by successive wardens of the temple or their accountants or writers. Events are narrated, especially in the latter portions of the Olugu, under specific dates, and a perusal of the entire book conveys the idea that it was a diary kept up by successive generations, true to its name, ‘Olugu’. On these grounds a categorical statement that the Koil-Olugu was a late composition of about the 18th century cannot be taken as altogether justified.8 (EI. XXIV. p. 91.) It is not improbable that an original and early cadjan existed in the Srirangam temple before the latter suffered during the Orissan and Muslim invasions of the medieval period. From the fact that Udayavar or Ramanuja receives the most exhaustive treatment it may be hazarded that the Olugu was commenced after his death. The comparatively scrappy treatment of the earlier period strengthens this view. The most instructive portion of the Koil-Olugu is that which treats with the reforms of Udayavar in the temple, the foremost of them being a thorough reorganization of the various groups of temple servants. The administration of the temple was improved and purified in manyaja respect. A five-fold division of the temple servants was expanded into a ten-fold division and the duties of each group were specified. In a lengthy account these duties are described elaborately and to the minutest detail in the peculiar temple jargon. To a person intimately connected with the temple ritual and custom this is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the entire chronicle. A perusal of the Koil-Olugu shows that the sequence of events adopted is jumbled, e.g., the period of the Acaryas is dealt with after the

first Muslim attack on Srirangam. Certain events or names are repeated in a different context; this was perhaps because an accountant recorded certain past events in the diary without liquiring whether the same had been recorded or not by a predecessor of his. The jumbled sequence might have been due to the constant resuscitations of the original due to the vicissitudes of history and the imperfections and shortcomings of scribes. It is also possible that a scribe while making a copy made his own interpolations. The Olugu maintains a fairly correct sequence of events while dealing with the Vijayanagar period and after. With its many imperfections in sequence, chronology and language9 (The language of the Olugu is supposed to be the familiar manipravala style of the Vaisnava hagiologies, i.e., a mixture of Sanskrit and Tamil. There is also an admixture of the jargon of the Vaisnava temple, a part of it being peculiar to Srirangam. Many of the sentences are unmangeably long and deal with a variety of details.) the Koil-Olugu is still a valuable source-book for a history of the Srirangam temple. Mr.R.Sewell made a correct guess of the worth of this chronicle when he said, “The priests of the (Srirangam) temple have in their possession a document which ought to be of real value, the mahatmyas of temples being almost invariably an absurd jumble of mythological fables. This is a chronicle called the ‘Varagu’, which is said to give a list of all the priests of the temple, with details of temple management from the earliest times.”10 (Lists of Antiquities. 1 p.268; see Introduction to Koil-Olugu in English, edited by the writer.

The Guruparamparai of Pinbalagiya Perumal Jiyar and the Divyasuricaritam
The Guruparamparai belongs to that type of chronicle known as hagiology. It records the history of a religious movement by tracing the list of its successive spiritual preceptors. Its usefulness for an attempt at reconstructing the history of Vaisnavism in South India cannot be exaggerated. To this type belong the Arayirappadi Guruparamparai of Pinbalagiya Perumal Jiyar, the Guruparamparai of the third Barahmatantra Swatantra Jiyar, the Divyasuricaritam and the Prapannamrtam of Anantarya, the first two being Tamil (Manipravalam) works and the next two Sanskrit. The Acaryasuktimuktavali by Namburi Kesavacarya, also called Vaduga Nambi or Andhrapurna, is a similar hagiology in Telugu. Of these the earliest is the Aryirappadi Guruparamparai whose author is, according to well-known Vaisnava tradition, assigned to the first half of the 13th century. So far as the lives of the Alvars are concerned much of the chronicle is legendary in character. Yet the astronomical details of the

nativity of these Alvars as well as their original homes and their early activities provide a starting point for further research. The Paramparai is more dependable when it deals with the Acaryas, who were certainly less remote; in fact Pinbalagiya Perumal Jiyar himself was living in the age of the Acaryas. He was the student of Nampillai. Nampillai was the successor of Nanjiyar on the Vaisnava pontifical seat at Srirangam; Nanjiyar was the student of Bhattar; and Bhattar in his turn was the successor of Ramanuja. Manavala Mahamuni came almost a century after Nampillai; and Pillai Lokam Jiyar continued the narrative of Pinbalagiya Perumal Jiyar and dealt in detail with the life of Manavala Mahamuni in his ‘Yatindra Pravana Prabhavam’. It was once believed that Garudavahana Pandita, the author of the Divyasuricaritam, was a contemporary of Ramanuja, but it has been effectively shown that he came much later and that his work was posterior to and based on the Arayirappadi Guruparamparai.11 (Cf. B.V.Ramanujam’s article on the ‘Divyasuricaritam’ (JIH XIII, pp. 181-202) and A.S.Ramanatha Aiyar’s edition of the Srirangam inscription of Garudavahana Bhattar, S. 1415. (EI. XXIV. pp.90 ff). The author, who perhaps composed the Caritam in the first years of the 15th century, did not trace the account of the Divyasuris upto his own time. He stopped with Ramanuja; and he himself, in the opening verses, tells that his set purpose in composing the Kavya was to trace the lives of the Divyasuris upto Ramanuja, which in itself forms a convenient period in the history of the Vaisnava movement and about which there is a continuous and unanimous tradition. In this work the lives of the Alvars are briefly traced in the first eight sargas. Sargas 9 and 10 are taken up by the subject of Andal’s marriage with Sriranganatha. The ‘Mahatmyam’ of Srirangam finds mention in the 10th sarga. Tirumangai Alvar is again brought in as the thief who waylaid the marriage party consisting of Andal, Alagiyamanavalan and their attendants. The 15th sarga is taken up by a recital of the festivals celebrated for the God at Srirangam throughout the different seasons of the year.

The Lakshmi Kavyam
The author of the Lakshmi Kavyam was Uttamanambi Tirumalacarya. He, says that he was the grandson of Uttamaraya, who had a brother named Cakraraya. The Koil Olugu speaks prominently of an Uttamanambi who had the titles ‘Meinilaiyitta’, ‘Ellainilaiyitta’, and ‘Valiyadimainilaiyitta’, and his brother Cakraraya and assigns him to the date S.1337. It is obvious that the Uttamaraya of the Lakshmi Kavyam, who is said to have administered the Srirangam temple with royal insignia, is the same as

Valiyadimainilaiyitta Uttamanambi of the Koil-Olugu. A copper plate inscription belonging to the Srirangam temple mentions Valiyadimainilaiyitta Perumal Uttamanambi as the donee and is dated S.1356 or A.D.1434.12 (E1. XVIII. Pp. 138 ff) His grandson Tirumalainatha Uttamanambi also, viz., S.1366 or A.D.1444. The Uttamanambi Vamsaprabhavam mentions Srirangacarya Uttamanambi and assigns him to the period S.1328-1372. It also mentions Tirumalainatha Aiyan Uttamanambi and says that be began to collect donations for the temple after S.1372 (A.D.1450).13 (‘Uttamanambi Vamsaprabhavam’, Taylor III. p. 438.) There is much common ground between the Divyasuricaritam and the Laksmikavyam; the two were not far removed from each other in date. Probably the kavyam appeared a little earlier than the caritam. While the latter deals first with the lives of the Alvars and then dwells extensively on the marriage of Andal with the God at Srirangam, the former is entirely concerned with the marriage of Uraiyurvalli (another consort of the God) with Sriranganatha. This kavya deals with the various festivities of the Adibrahmotsava in great detail and as such is of considerable interest to a person intimately connected with the shrine, but unfortunately it has not been printed.

Local dynastic accounts
Two genealogical lists called the Annan Tirumaligai Olugu and the Uttamanambi vamsa-prabhavam deal respectively with the families of Kandadai Andan, the son of Mudaliyandan, to whom the control of the temple was entrusted by Ramanuja, and the Uttamanambis, who played a notable part in the history of the Srirangam temple, especially during the Vijayanagar period. Both the accounts were collected by Col. Colin Mackenzie. The latter is also available in print.

The Parameswara Samhita of the Pancaratragama
The Agamas form a voluminous part of Sanskrit literature. Like the stalamahatmyas they claim great antiquity and are attributed to the risis or the sages of yore and appear in the form of discourses. There are three varieties of agamas, viz., Saiva, Vaisnava and Sakta. The Vaisnava agamas are of two kinds, viz., Pancaratra and Vaikhanasa. While the latter is attributed to the sage Vikhanasa, various explanations are given for the former, viz., that it explains five principles, that it was told during five nights, that it expels five-fold darknesses, etc. Each has numerous guide books called samhitas, those of the Pancaratra being more numerous. They

are said to number more than 200. Of these the Satvata, the Pauskara and the Jayakhya are said to be the most important. Different Vaisnava temples following the Pancaratra have chosen different samhitas and have stuck to them at least so far as the rituals and mantras are concerned, and hence they serve as text-books for the priests. The Srirangam temple follows the Parameswara Samhita of the Pancaratragama.14 (‘Sripancaratrantargata Sriparamesvarasamhita’, edited by U.V.Govindacarya, Srirangam, 1953. The printed part deals with the Kriyakanda of the samhita, the gnanakanda having been lost.) The samhita consists of 26 chapters and deals with the following: snanavidhi, bhutasuddhi, mantranyasa, berapuja, agnikarya, vimana devata, dvara-avaranadi devata, Garuda-Visvaksenadi parivararcanam, pratistavidhanam, pavitrotsavam, sayanotsavam, dhvajarohanam, naivedyas, prayascittas, rules governing tulapurusa and hiranyagarbha danas, samproksnam, Sudarsana yantra, its puja, etc. It gives full details of disposition of the gateway gopuras of all the seven prakaras, dvarapalas and upadvarapalas, dvara devatas, avarana devatas, sobha devatas and upasobhadevatas, and the devatas of the various parts of the vimana including the sanctum. It is not easy to fix the age of the samhita. It need not be held that it belongs to a period when full blown temples with seven prakaras and elaborate rules regarding pujas, festivals, etc., were known, for such a view presupposes that the temple came first and then the agama. It is more likely that the agamas, in a very early period, laid down rules, as elaborately as possible, governing the architecture and iconography of an ideal temple as well as pujas, prayascittas etc., and that temple builders tried to follow them as best as they could. If it is accepted, on the authority of the Koil-Olugu, that the Vaikhanasas were doing worship in the Srirangam temple and that they were replaced by Udayavar by priests trained in the Pancaratra, as expounded in the Paramesvara-samhita,15 (KO. pp.45, 46, 55, 100 and 173) the latter was certainly known in his period and perhaps long before. One thing appears to be plain. Whoever the author of the samhita was he seems to have had the Srirangam temple in his mind, for Chapter X, which deals with the vimana devatas, mentions the Ranga-vimana and relates its mahatmya. It is also possible that it was the product of more than one author belonging to different periods.

Modern Period
Coming to the modern period the monographs on the Nayaks of

Coming to the modern period the monographs on the Nayaks of Madura and those of Tanjore, compiled with the help of inscriptions, the Jesuit letters and the native chronicles, help in checking the accounts of the Koil-Olugu on the relations of the Nayaks with the Srirangam temple.16 (‘The Nayaks of Madura’ by R.Sathyanatha Aiyar and the ‘Nayaks of Tanjore’ by V.Vriddhagirisan.) For the period of the rule of the Nawabs of Arcot and the Carnatic Wars have been utilised, in the main, Robert Orme’s ‘Military transactions of the British nation in Indostan’ and Burhan Ibn Hasan’s Tuzaki-walajahi. Burhan, the son of Hasan, was a resident of Trichinopoly and he wrote his work in the reign of Muhammad Ali Walajah when Haidar Ali invaded the Carnatic.17 (‘Tuzaki Walajahi’ (Madras University Islamic series 1. Translated and edited by M.Hussain Nainar), pt.1. p. XXVI.) Three collections of “Collectors’ and Magistrates’ Orders and Judicial affairs and decisions in the Adalut Courts” with reference to the details of administration and religious ceremonial of the Srirangam temple that arose between the years 1803 and 1894 by K.S.Rangaswamy Aiyangar of Srirangam compiled in the latter year are useful for a study of the recent history of the temple. The well-know Diary of Anandaranga Pillai has also been found to be useful.

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Events of Today Histats



The Thiruchirapalli rock and the twin rivers, the Kaveri and the Coleroon
Thiruchirapalli, the headquarters of the district of the same name, lies on the southern bank of the river Kaveri at a point crossed by latitude 10.50 N and longitude 78.46 E. Great mountain ranges or chains of hills do not, anywhere in the district, form well-marked boundaries; but in the south and south-west lie scattered rocks, and some of these like the Tiruccirapalli rock, the Golden Rock and Ratnagiri hill are solid and crystalline masses that lured the minds of the ancient sculptors and temple builders. The Thiruchirapalli rock is historically the most important of these, and its height, from the level of the roads below it, is 273’. Nearby lies the suburb of Uraiyur, which was once the capital of the Colas. Opposite to it and on the northern bank of the Kaveri lie the Vaisnava and Saiva shrines of Srirangam and Jambukesvaram on an islet formed by the two rivers, the Kaveri and the Coleroon. The river Kaveri, which divides the district into two nearly equal parts, the northern and the southern, splits into two nine miles west of Srirangam. The northern branch takes the name of Coleroon (Kollidam) while the southern retains the name of the Kaveri. Eight miles east of the town they almost reunite through the channel known as Ullar, but are kept apart by a dam known as the Grand Anicut. The main river, viz., the Kaveri, which takes its source in the Western Ghats in Coorg, enters the Tanjore district, exhausts itself in a network of irrigation channels, and almost loses itself in the sands before reaching the sea. But the Coleroon, which forms through its entire length the dividing line between the Thiruchirapalli and the Tanjore districts, falls into the sea at the northern most point of the Tanjore district as a wide mouthed river. From its source upto Erode the river is known as the Kaveri; from Erode upto the point of bifurcation ahead of Srirangam as the ‘Akhanda’ or ‘undivided’ Kaveri and thence Kaveri once more. The two branches of the same river are also referred to as the southern and the northern Kaveri rivers in literature of a traditional and religious type. Ptolemy refers to it in his Geography as Khaberos.

The river has ever been an important adjunct to the Hindu temple and the former is as sacred as the latter. This is especially so with regard to the Srirangam temple, which lies in all the natural richness and sanctity that could be afforded by the two rivers that flow on either side, ‘garlanding’ as it were, in the language of the Mahatmya, the God enshrined therein. According to Puranas (Agneya and Skanda) Kaveri was originally the daughter of Brahma and later became the adopted child of Kaveramuni. Out of her own prayers she became a sacred river, whose waters should wash away all sin. According to the Harivamsa Kaveri was originally one-half of the Ganga and became the river that she is as a result of the curse of her father. The Tamil classic Manimekalai says that the river was brought into existence by the prayers of Kantaman and his devotion to the sage Agastya to avert the distress caused by drought in his land; and that it appeared by the side of the city of Campapati.1 (Manimekalai, Padigam, lines 6-14) The name ‘Kaveri’ is better explained by some such legendary association rather than an attempted derivation of the word from ‘Kavi’ (red ochre) because of the muddy colour of the river during floods, or ‘ka’ a grove and ‘eri’ a lake.2 (Caldwell (Grammar of Dravidian Languages) p.569.) The river Kaveri seems to have been a freakish river in ancient times. The building of floodbanks to the river by Karikala Cola is prominently mentioned in Tamil literary tradition. The river must have overflowed because it had very few outlets excepting one, viz., the Coleroon, in the shape of tributaries that spread all over the Tanjore district today. In the historical period the Srirangam temple itself was often threatened by floods in the Kaveri and diversion channels had to be dug now and then to remove the overflow.3 (KO. pp. 118-19) The river Coleroon is a more imposing river than the Kaveri as it moves farther and farther away from its parent. The Tamil forms Kollidam. Kollidam mean respectively a ‘receptacle’ or ‘reservoir’ and ‘a place of slaughter’. The fact that the Coleroon acts as a safety-valve of the Kaveri carrying off its surplus water might have given rise to the form of ‘Kollidam’. Regarding the other expression popular tradition says that a certain local chief build the temple at Srirangam with the help of wealth obtained from plunder. The builder employed an army of men and ultimately found his coffers empty. When the labourers clamoured for wages he took them all in a huge boat to the middle of the river Coleroon, where he drowned them with the thought that they would obtain beautification as a reward for their sacred services. The Guruparamparai and the Prapannamrtam mention this incident and attribute it to Tirumangai Alvar.

Uraiyrur (Woraiyur) was the capital of the earliest known Colas referred to by the Sangam literature. Today it is an insignificant suburb of Thiruchirapalli and contains an important sub-shrine attached to the Srirangam temple, viz., that of Uraiyur Nacciyar, one of the two consorts of Alagiyamanavalan, the God at Srirangam, the other being Sriranga Nacciyar, whose shrine is contained within the main temple of Srirangam. In Sanskrit Uraiyur has been known as Uragapura. The Gadval plates of the Early Calukya king, Vikramaditya I, dated 674 A.D. mention Uragapura, on the southern bank of the Kaveri, referring to Uraiyur. The Prapannamrtam adopts this terminology. In Vaishnava tradition Uraiyur is known as Nisulapuri, after Nisulai, the mother of Kamalavalli, a Cola princess, who became the consort of the God at Srirangam. Uraiyur itself means nothing more than a place of dwelling in Tamil. The Nisulapurai Mahatmya gives the following account of Uraiyur and Uraiyur Nacciyar. The environs of the Thiruchirapalli rock, which were thick forests, were once the abode of the asura Kara. The sage Agastya made that region a fit habitat for the Risis by sending the asura to the north. Then the Cola king, Dharmavaram, left Kumbakonam and founded a city on the southern bank of the Kaveri and called it Nisulapuri after his wife Nisula. To these mortals was born Lakshmi because she repulsed the sage Bhrigu, who attempted an exclusive interview with Visnu and thus stood in the way of her dalliance with her lord. She was called Vasalaksmi and she loved and married God Ranganatha. The Divyasuricaritam gives the same episode of Uraiyurvalli, but the Koil-Olugu mentions her as the daughter of Nanda Cola, a descendant of Dharmavarma. The latter account further states that after the marriage of Kamalavalli with Alagiyamanavalan, the God at Srirangam, Nanda Cola constructed many mantapas, gopuras and walls in Srirangam, and built a temple in his own city of Uraiyur for his daughter and the ‘Divine Bridegroom’. The love of the divine daughter of the Cola with the God culminating in marriage has been the favourite theme of some romantic pieces of Vaisnava literature, the chief of which of which is the Sanskrit work called the Lakshmi Kavya by Uttamanambi Tirumalacarya. The same theme is celebrated by the Panguni Uttiram festival, which forms an exciting item of the Adibrohmotsava in Srirangam. According to the Kavya Uraiyurvalli (Laksmi) was the daughter of Karikala Cola and she chose Ranganatha as her husband in a svyamvara, which was attended by the gods of both the Vaishnava and Saiva pantheon.

Srirangam is classed as the first and most important of the 108 Vaisnava shrine which lie scattered throughout India. In Vaisnava parlance it has been known as the ‘koil’ - the temple par excellence - and bears the same relation to Vaisnavism as Cidambaram does to Saivism. The temple walls contain inscriptions dating from the 10th century. A history of Srirangam resolves itself into an account of the growth of the Vaisnava cult in South India. From the start the Vaisnava movement made Srirangam its headquarters and its rallying point, and the Vaisnava bards and mystics looked upon the shrine as the loadstar of their devotions and aspirations. All the Alvars with the exception of Madurakavi, whose only work was the ‘ten’ beginning with Kanninunciruttambu in laudation of his Acarya, Nammalvar, have mentioned the shrine and its deity Ranganatha in their works, and Madurakavi himself was very active in the shrine for the sake of his guru though he has not mentioned it in his verses.

The local stalapurana
The origin of this shrine is carried to hoary antiquity by pious tradition and belief which find sanctity and greatness in what is immemorial. Accordingly much stress is laid upon the deity rather than the temple. The origin of the temple is the problem of the archaeologist and is more secular, but not so is the quest of the pious devotee, who regards the temple as the earthly abode of God, who is eternal and universal; to him the temple cannot but be without a beginning, and more so the vimana or the sanctum containing the image of the God. The Sriranga Mahatmya4 (An orthodox version is given in ASI, Madras, 1903-4 pp. 60 ff.) gives this traditional account about the origin of the Sriranga Vimana, around which grew the temple in the course of time. The following is a brief account of the Mahatmya, which is said to form part of the Brahmanda purana, one of the 18 Mahapuranas. Rudra expounds to Narada the origin, growth and greatness of Sriranga thus: When God created Brahma from his navel and deputed him to create the earth the latter was at his wit’s end when he saw a sheer expanse of a water. When he was thus perplexed God came to him in the form of a swan (hamsa) and saying ‘Om’ disappeared. Then Brahma worshipped God saying ‘Om’. Once again God appeared to him as a swan and preached the Vedas, which were stolen away by the two asuras, Madhu and Kaitabha. Brahma, unable to trace them even after an elaborate search, appealed to God, who

appeared to him in the form of a fish, killed the asuras in His manifestation of a horse (hayagriva) and disappeared after restoring the Vedas. Then Brahma created the universe. He was displeased, however, with his creation, for he found that everything was transient and disappeared in course of time. He went to Ksirasagar (‘Ocean of milk’) and worshipped God, who appeared to him as a tortoise. Brahma was puzzled and prayed to God to show him His real form. Thereupon God advised him to worship Him by repeating the Astaksara or the eight-lettered mantra (Om Namo Narayanaya). Brahma, so doing, lost himself in penance and contemplation. As a result of his penance the Sriranga Vaimana sprang from the Ksirasagar radiating lustre alround.5 (The expression Sriranga Vimana is used to denote the turret as well as the oval shaped sanctum beneath it, containing the image of the reclining Ranganatha. The turret, the sanctum and the image form a single whole and are inseparably associated with one another.) It was borne by Garuda. Sesa, the Serpent God, had spread his hood over it. Visvaksena, with a stick in hand, cleared the way for the God. The sun and moon were fanning the deity with chowries. Narada and Tumburu followed singing. There was the Jayaghosa of Rudra and other gods and the ‘Dundubighosa’. The celestial courtesans danced. Clouds rained flowers. There were great hurrahs and tumult. Brahma awoke from his penance and prostrated himself before the vimana. He stood up saying the four Vedas through his four mouths and was lost in amazement. Sunanda, a celestial watch at the gate (dwarapalaka), told him that the three lettered Vimana, ‘Sri-ra-nga’ was the result of his penance, that God was resting with His consort inside and that he could see Him and worship Him. Then Brahma worshipped the Almighty for a long time. Finally the God spoke to him thus: “Listen O Brahma! I have appeared as a result of your penance.” Then he explained to him the four types of idols and vimanas, - (1) Svayamvykta - created by God, i.e., God Himself choosing to come down as an idol, (2) Divya - created by the Devas, (3) Saiddha - created by a great seers and (4) Manusya - created by mortals. “The Vimanas of the first class, viz., Svayamvyakta will appear in eight places - Srirangam, Srimusnam, Venkatadri, Saligram, Naimisaranyam, Totadri, Puskara and Badrikasrama. Rangavimana is the first and the earliest of these” Speaking of the second class of idols the God said, “I will come to Kanci as Varadaraja, where my idol will be installed by you. Ananta will instal my idol in the south, Rudra in Kandikapura, Visvakarma at Nanda, Dharma at Vrisabagiri, Asvini at Asvatirtha, Indra at Cakratirtha, etc. So

also great seers will install me in certain places and men everywhere.” Then the God explained to Brahma the procedure for conducting the worship and lay down in the characteristic pose at Srirangam and kept silent. Brahma took the vimana from Ksirasagar to his abode in Satyaloka and established it on the banks of the Vraja. He appointed Viwasvan, the sun god, to do the daily puja of the God. After Viwasvan his son Vaivasvata Manu continued the puja. Iksvaku, a son of Manu, became the king of Ayodhya and found it difficult to worship the vimana at Satyaloka. Hence he did penance, which extended over hundreds of years, and obtained the permission of Brahma to take it to Ayodhya. After Iksvaku his descendants worshipped the God. Rama gave the vimana to Vibhisana, who established it on the banks of the Kaveri. At this stage Narada asks Rudra to give details of the above account, viz., the coming of the vimana to Srirangam. Rudra replies: Vasista told Iksvaku, his disciple, the origin of the Sriranga Vimana and added that after being worshipped by him and his generations, it would establish itself in Srirangam and be worshipped by the Cola monarchs. As advised by his guru Iksvaku did penance near the former’s asrama with the object of bringing the vimana to Ayodhya from Satyaloka. Indra, the king of the gods knew the purpose of the penance and consulted Brahma about the possibility of their losing the vimana. Brahma went to Visnu, who told him that it was His intention to go to Ayodhya and thence to Srirangam. Then Brahma brought the vimana to Iksvaku on the back of Garuda. Iksvaku carried the vimana to Ayodhya, established it between the rivers Sarayu and Tamasa, built a shrine and organised worship. Dasaratha, in the line of Iksvaku, performed the sacrifices of Asvamedha and Putrakamesti for which celebrations he invited monarchs of all India, one of whom was Dharmavarma, the Cola. Dharmavarma saw the Rangavimana, knew its history and wanted to have it in his country. So, when he returned home he began performing penance on the banks of the Candrapuskarani.6 (A tank in the Srirangam temple.) The risis around said to him, “Nearby lies your old city in ruins.7 (The reference is to Uraiyur, the capital of the Colas.) Rudradeva burnt it in anger. Close to it there was a risi-asram, where we had congregated under the leadership of Dalbya risi, who worshipped God. When God appeared to him, he requested Him to stay there and sanctify the place, to which the latter replied that in His avatar as Rama, He would come to that place as Ranganatha, for the sake of Vibhisana. We are expecting the Sriranga Vimana even now. Hence your

penance is unnecessary”. On hearing this Dharmavarma stopped his penance and retired to Nisula. Rama worsted Ravana in battle, crowned Vibhisana king of Lanka and performed the ‘asvamedha’ sacrifice in Ayodhya. To it all were invited including Dharmavarma. Rama presented the Rangavimana to Vibhisana out of his munificence as the latter was very much helpful to him in his fight against Ravana. Vibhisana bore the vimana on his head and, on his way to Lanka, stopped at Srirangam and placed the vimana on the banks of the Candrapuskarani. The risis immediately informed Dharmavarma about the arrival of the vimana. The Cola king came to the spot and received Vibhisana with great delight. The latter bathed in the sacred waters of the Kaveri and worshipped the vimana. Dharmavarma also performed puja and requested Vibhisana to stay with him for a few days. To this Vibhisana did not agree and said that an utsava had to be performed in Lanka the next day. The cola replied that the festival might as well be performed in his own country and that he would meet all the expenses. Vibhisana then agreed to stay, and the festival was begun and celebrated for nine days in a grand fashion. After a stay of a fortnight Vibhisana started for Lanka. To his utter amazement and sorrow the vimana had got itself fixed to the spot where he had placed it and had become irremovable.8 (According to the popular local version Vibhisana had been instructed by Rama not to place the vimana on the ground. At Srirangam Vibhisana entrusted it to a Brahmana boy for a short while. The latter placed it on the ground as the former did not return in time, as promised. When he returned Vibhisana found the vimana on the ground and irremovable. He became angry and chased the boy, who ran up the rock on the other side of the Kaveri. He was no other than Ganesa (Uccipillaiyar). See also Parameswara Samhita (10:279-281) ) Vibhisana shed tears. The God then said to him, “This place is good, so also its king and people. I desire to stay here. You may retire to Lanka”. He also related to Vibhisana the sanctity of the river Kaveri. “Visvavasu, a Gandharva of the Vindhyas, met on the hill side a congregation of river goddesses and made his obeisance to them. Immediately a debate arose as to whom it was meant. All except Ganga and Kaveri withdrew from the contest. Both the disputants went to Brahma, who declared that Ganga was superior. Kaveri did penance as a result of which Brahma granted to her a status of equality. Still dissatisfied she is performing penance at Saraksetra. To give her the first place among the rivers I have to raise her sanctity to the utmost by remaining in her midst. I will recline here

facing your country. You may go back to Lanka.” Dharmavarma built a shrine for the vimana, the surrounding prakaras and organised worship. As noted earlier this Mahatmya, which claims the parentage of the Brahmanda purana, is at best the crystallisation of a local tradition that had grown up in course of time; as such no date could be assigned to it. The chronology adopted by it is simply baffling and hence useless for historical purposes. Taking the tradition of the eight shrines of the “Svayamvyakta” idols to be a genuine and an old one, one can perhaps say that Srirangam was the first and earliest among the major Vaisnava shrines of South India. Dharmavarma, the Cola king, who was a contemporary of Dasaratha and Rama, is undoubtedly a mythical figure. The pauranica does not care to connect the historical Colas with the legendary Cola, nor does he hesitate to pass from one yuga to another. But the chronicler, in the Koil-Olugu, obviously found some difficulty in closing so wide a gap in time, and in inventing the story of a sandstorm, in which was buried the whole temple constructed by Dharmavarma, he achieved a double purpose; on the one had he passed from the Treta yuga to Kali yuga, and on the other from Dharmavarma to the historical Killi Cola, who is said to have reconstructed the temple. That seems to be the best way of interpreting the account of the sandstorm referred to in the Olugu. That this tradition in the Mahatmya was not of a late origin and purely of local character can be gleaned from references to it in the Valmiki Ramayana and the Padma and Matsya puranas. From the Valmiki Ramayana we know that Rama advised Vibhisana, before he retired to Vaikunta, to rule over his country with righteousness and to worship constantly the family deity of the Iksvaku kings that had been presented to him.9 (Uttarakanda, sarga 131, slokas 30, 31 and 91.) The object presented is mentioned as kuladana or family property. That this kuladana was Sriranga Vimana is known from the Padma Purana.10 (Padma Purana, Uttara kanda, Ch.90 (Sriranga varnana) ) The Matsya Purana mentions Srirangam as a place of pilgrimage.11 (Ch.22. v.44. (12) Canto X.L.156; XI.L.39.) In the present stage of things these references are more genuine that the ‘10 chapters’ of the Sriranga Mahatmya, said to be an episode in the Brahmanda Purana and the ‘108 chapters’ version of the Garuda Purana.

Srirangam is a compound of Sri and Rangam. In Sanskrit Rangam means

a stage; and Srirangam means ‘the holy stage’ or ‘the holy stage-like seat of God’. In Tamil arangam means an islet formed by two rivers, and it is by this epithet that the shrine is generally referred to by the Vaisnava works in Tamil. The Silappadikaram refers to it by this term and also by turutti, both meaning the same thing.12 (Canto X.L.156; XI.L.39.) Kovalan, the hero of the Silappadikaram, wanted to earn a living in Madurai, after he had spent his fortune upon the courtesan Madavi in Puhar or Kavirippumpattinam. He started along with his virtuous wife Kannaki, and “after several days journey, they reached Srirangam, where the river Kaveri was hidden by the island. Nearby was the habitation fit for the gods - a spot filled with the fragrance of different flowers in the thick groves fenced by the bent bamboo.”13 (Canto X. LL. 155-58) At this point they crossed the Kaveri and reached Uraiyur on the southern bank of the river. From Uraiyur they proceeded south and after a short journey “met a venerable Brahmana, who praised the Pandyan king of unblemished repute. On Kovalan asking him which was his native home and what brought him there, he said: ‘I am a native of Mankadu, in the region of Kudamalai (the western hills). I came to satisfy my heart’s desire to see with my own eyes the glory of Visnu, whom many worship with prayer as He reposes with Laksmi in His breast on the couch of the widening waves of the Kaveri, even as the blue clouds repose supine on the slopes of the lofty golden mountain (Meru). (I also came to see) the beauty of the red-eyed Lord, holding in his beautiful lotus-hands the discus, which is death to His enemies, and also the milk-white conch; (to see Him) wearing a garland of flowers on His breast, and draped in golden flowers, on His breast, and draped in golden flowers, and dwelling upon the topmost crest of the tall and lofty hill named Venkatam with innumerable water-falls, standing like a cloud in its natural hue adorned with a rain-bow and attired with lightning, in the midst of a place both sides of which are illuminated by the spreading rays of the sun and moon.”14 (V.R.R. Dikshitar’s edn. Of the Silappadikaram (pp.172-73); Canto XI.LL.35-51) On ascertaining from this Brahmana the best route to Madurai they proceeded on their way to that city. Now this reference to the important Vaisnava temples in South India by the Silappadikaram is noteworthy. But it is unfortunate that the date of this epic has so far remained a point of doubt and controversy. The Gajabahu synchronism establishes beyond doubt the contemporaneity of Ceran Senguttuvan, who raised an image for Kannaki, the heroine of the epic, and Gajabahu I, who reigned in the later half of the 2nd century A.D. Yet some scholars have raised the pertinent question, “when was the epic in its present form composed?” In the existing state of our knowledge it does not

present form composed?” In the existing state of our knowledge it does not appear to be an easy task to answer this question with precision. Avoiding a controversy, which leads us nowhere, we may, for all practical purposes, agree with the generally accepted date, viz., the second half of the 2nd century A.D.15 (V.R.R.Dikshitar (op.cit) pp.8-9. Intrn.) A reference to Arangam and the Panguni festival in an Aham ode is interesting. It mentins Urandai, Arangam and the Panguni festival. The poem is to the following effect: “Although your lover has not yet crossed over to foreign tracts (to earn a livelihood) I am surprised to see how much you are distressed by the thought of separation. Your face has lost its lustre and resembles the sandy and thickly wooded river bank in Arangam (in Uraiyur of the mighty Colas) with quenched hearths, strewn hither and thither after the close of the celebration of the Panguni festival; your shoulders likewise have lost their beauty. How can I bear this (behaviour of yours.”16 (Aham 137.) This poem is by Mudukuttanar of Uraiyur, and purports to be the sentiments expressed by the confidante of the heroine, when the latter was oppressed by the thought of separation from her lover. It is quite likely that Arangam, here, refers to Srirangam, closely associated with Uraiyur, the Cola capital. The absence of joyous tumult on the banks of the Kaveri after the Panguni festival is taken by the poet as the point of comparison. Apparently there is no association of the festival with the Vaisnava temple at Srirangam and Arangam might be interpreted simply as the scene of the festival. The reference is as good or as bad as ‘Venkatam of festivals’ in another Aham ode.17 (Aham 61) The reading of the Vaisnava temples of Srirangam and Vengadam in the Ahananuru, however, need not be looked at with suspicion. It may be noted here that the first three Alvars (i.e. the Mudalalvars), who have made a number of references in their verses to the God enshrines in these two places, belong, in the opinion of a majority of modern scholars, to the period of the classical Tamil literature, i.e., of the Sangam period, to which the Aham odes belong. It is also to be noted that Killi Cola, who figures in the Koil-Olugu as the founder of the Srirangam temple, belongs to the Sangam period. There is also the tradition of the Cola princess, who loved and married Ranganatha, which is the theme of the epic, the Laksmi Kavya, and which is the main event of the Adibrahmotsava, viz., the Panguni Uttiram festival. The inference may thus be drawn that the origins of the Srirangam temple may be laid in the Sangam period.

The first Alvars and Srirangam
The Vaisnava tradition assigns the First Alvars (Mudalalvar) to Dvapara yuga, evidently in recognition of their antiquity. These are the

Alvars Poigai, Bhutam and Pey. We have a Poigaiyar, a Bhuttanar and a Peyanar among the Sangam poets. Controversy has mainly centred round the identification of the Poigai Alvar of the First Tiruvandadi with the Poigaiyar of the Kalavali Forty, a Sangam work. Several scholars have accepted the identification while some have not.18 (M.Raghava Aiyangar. Sen Tamil; I.p.6, and Alwargal Kalanilai, p.23 ff. Contra M.S.Srinivasa Pillai, Tamil Varalaru, pp.176-7, and N.M.Venkatasamy Nattar, Sentamil Selvi, II. Article on Poigaiyar.) We may proceed on the assumption that the first Alvars belong to the Sangam age. Poigai Alvar sings of the God at Srirangam and exclaims that he would never forget the Perumal: “I knew and worshipped, even while I was in my mother’s womb, the glories of Periya Perumal, who is resting in Srirangam. His form, which resembles the cool expanse of the sea, I can never forget. O unspiritual beings! I can never remove His image from my mind, today, when I am full of the knowledge of God.”19 (Nalayirapprabandam, I centum 6.) Bhuttattu Alvar stresses the Vaisnava doctrine of self-surrender thus: “Those who do not follow the right path of object submission to the God, who is resting at Tennarangam, will have to snap the strong bonds of family, etc., (and practise ascerticism). But lo, before such men reach the strongly guarded Vaikuntam, the abode of the eternals, its gateway would be closed! This truth, now, I have come to know”.20 (II centum 88.) Pey Alvar refers to “Tiruvarangam brimming with gardens full of honeyed flowers” and says that Kanci, Tiruvarangam, Kudandai (Kumbakonam) and Tirukkottiyur are the earthly abodes of God.21 (III centum.62.)

Tirumalisai Alvar
According to the Vaisnava tradition Alvar Tirumalisai was the younger contemporary of the First Alvars. In both of his works, the Tiruccanda Viruttam and the Nanmugan Tiruvandadi Tirumalisai refers many a time to the shrine of Srirangam and the God resting therein. The Kaveri with its branch, the Coleroon, encircling the shrine, as well as luxuriant gardens that abounded on the fertile soil of Srirangam (as is the case even today) seem to have captured the imagination of these early mystic poets as forcibly as the numerous waterfalls on the Tirumalai hills. Two typical verses from the Tiruccanda Viruttam are to the following effect: “Where abides the God that playfully shot from his bow balls of earth at the hunchbacked woman, whose head was adorned with flowers visited by bees? (The divine abode is)

Tiruvarangam watered by the beautiful and cool river Kaveri, at whose banks the crane walks majestically feeding on the crabs, (at which) the valai fish skip about in fear and the Kendai take shelter in water lilies”.22 (Tiruccanda Vriuttam.49.) Again, “which is the sacred shrine where abides the mighty Perumal who, once, shot arrows from His strong bow, the ‘Sarnga’, so that even the black sea with white waves caught fire and glowed red? (It is) the beautiful Tiruvarangam, which contains many sacred pools, in which people from all the eight directions bathe and worship and which is surrounded by gardens where sing the bees.”23 (Ibid.50.) Over and above the river and the gardens, Srirangam was famous for the eight sacred pools or punya tirtas in the eight directions around the shrine, which are referred to by Tirumalisai, when he speaks of the ‘sacred pools, in which people from all the eight directions bathe and worship’ The local stalamahatmya, said to form part of the Garuda purana, speaks of these eight tirtas, surrounding the chief tirta within the shrine, viz., the Candrapuskarani. They are (1) the Asvatta tirta in the south, (2) the Palasa tirta in the southwest, (3) the Punnaga tirta in the west, (4) the Vagula tirta in the northwest, (5) the Kadamba tirta in the north, (6) the Amra tirta in the northeast, (7) the Bilva tirta in the east, and (8) the Jambu tirta in the southeast. Each tirta had its own presiding deity, its own Mahatmya and certain vratas connected with it. Each was associated with a particular tree. With absolute and surprising confidence in the divine beneficence Tirumalisai exclaims: “Sriranganatha, who protects me with His saving grace will hold me back and prevent my entry into the stage of wordly life; my mind He has made His constant abode. Hence will He quit it for His serpent couch on the Tirupparkadal? (He will not)”.24 (Nanmugan Tiruvandadi 30.)

The Origin of the Shrine
Leaving aside the traditional account of the origin of the Sriranga Vimana as described in the Stalamahatmya it may be inferred, from the above discussion, that the main shrine of the Ranganatha temple was erected sometime in the Sangam period, when the early Colas were ruling from Uraiyur. The early Alvars, whose references to Srirangam were considered above, are assigned to this period on the strength of the identification of Poigai Alvar with Poigaiyar. The references to Arangam in the Aham ode and to the image of reclining Visnu at Srirangam in the Silappadikaram further

strengthen this view. The Koil-Olugu refers to a certain Killi Cola, who was informed of the buried Sriranga Vimana in his dream and who resuscitated the shrine by pulling down the enclosing forests and removing the sand that had covered it.25 (KO.p.3-4) The Olugu continues that he built the prakaras, as of old, laid down many flower-gardens and instituted the temple services and organised worship. ‘Killi’ is obviously a contraction of ‘Killi’,26 (This form is adopted in such names of villages, in the Tanjore and Thiruchirapalli districts), Kilinalur, Nalakillinallur and Kilianur.) and in Killi Cola of the Koil-Olugu, we meet the first historical person mentioned in that chronicle, who also figures as the builder of the temple. ‘Killi, was used as a synonym for ‘Cola’ and many Cola kings of the Sangam age bore that title; some of them were Nalangilli, Nedungilli and Perunarkilli. It is a futile task therefore to investigate who the Killi Cola referred to by the Olugu is. For all practical purposes we have to assume that the first foundations of the temple were laid by a certain Cola king of Uraiyur, who ruled before the time of Koccenganan, the contemporary of Poigai Alvar or Poigaiyar, to whom Srirangam was already a shrine of some fame. It was in the fitness of things that an early Cola king of Uraiyur selected such a beautiful site as Srirangam, lying as it does between the two branches of the river Kaveri, which almost encircle it, and so near his own capital, to build a temple on, which in course of time grew up to be the biggest Vaisnava temple in South India, a temple with the full complement of seven prakaras or enclosures running round the sanctum.

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THE PERIOD OF THE PALLAVAS AND EARLY PANDYAS In the previous chapter an attempt was made to trace the origin of the Srirangam temple and its early growth in the Sangam period or roughly the first few centuries of the Christian era with the help of a few references in the classical Tamil literature and the verses of the First Alvars. These show that the temple had attained sufficient importance as to attract people “from the eight directions” who bathed in the sacred pools and offered worship. The god was undoubtedly Visnu reclining on the serpent couch (Adisesa). Srirangam, during this period lay in the territory of the early Colas, who ruled from Uraiyur. Their hegemony may be said to have lasted, say, upto the 4th or the 5th century A.D. There follows a period of twilight, when it would appear that the Colas, Ceras and the Pandyas were all defeated and their territories overrun by some tribe or tribes, alien to the Tamils, who called them in detestation ‘Kali arasar’ or ‘evil kings’, and that it was on the ruins of the kingdom of these tribes of ‘Kalabhras’ that the Pandyas revived their power in the south and the Pallavas established their kingdom to the north of the Kaveri towards the close of the 6th century A.D. We are on firm ground from 575 A.D. when the Pallava monarchs of the Simhavisnyu line began to rule from Kanci. The Colas seem to have continued to rule from Uraiyur not independently but as subordinates of the Pallavas. They were able to reestablish their independent power only towards the close of the 9th century, when the Pallavas of Kanci had weakened themselves to a point of exhaustion as a result of almost unending conflicts with the early Calukyas of Vatapi in the north in the early period and the Pandyas in the south in the later period. Though this age, i.e., the period immediately preceding the rise of the Cola empire under Vijayalaya and Aditya, witnessed considerable political unsettlement and confusion it was yet the heroic age of Hinduism in South India. It saw the activities of the Saivite trio Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar, the authors of the intensely devotional Tevaram songs, and who popularised Sivabhakti among the princes and the people. Mahendravarman Pallava (600-630 A.D.) was converted by Appar from Jainism to Saivism and the Pandya Parankusa Maravarman alias Kun Pandya (670-710 A.D.) was

the Pandya Parankusa Maravarman alias Kun Pandya (670-710 A.D.) was similarly converted by Sambandar. Everywhere in the south the Saiva and Vaisnava movements were together overcoming the influence of Jainism and Buddhism in high places and recording their triumphs. Temples to Siva and Visnu were constructed in large numbers, e.g., the early Calukyan and Pallava temples. The Srirangam temples seems to have waxed under the impact of this renaissance. This is evident from the prabandas or verses of the later Alvars.

The Later Alvars and Srirangam
The later Alvars are Nammalvar or Satakopa, Madurakavi (the disciple of the former), Kulasekhara Alvar, Periyalvar, Andal (the daughter of Periyalvar), Tondaradippodi Alvar or Bhaktanghrirenu, Tiruppan Alvar or Yogivaha and Tirumangai Alvar or Parakala. According to Vaisnava tradition most of these were contemporaries, of whom Tirumangai was the latest, i.e., who outlived the rest. Their chronology presents several problems. Working backwards from the age of the Acaryas and on the basis of the tradition, which interposes an interval of 200 years between the last of the Alvars and the first of the Acaryas, they are all assigned to the 8th century A.D. All these make interesting and useful references to the shrine of Srirangam; and atleast two of them are exclusively associated with it.

Nammalvar and Madurakavi
According to the Guruparamparai Nammalvar belonged to a dynasty of chiefs of Tirukkurugur in the Tinnevelly district. His works are the Tiruvaimoli, the Tiruviruttam, the Tiruv asiriyam and the Periya Tiruvandadi. In these works the idea of self-surrender or ‘prapatti’ is explained in the most touching words, voiced sometimes by a forlorn mother, sometimes by a lady in love and sometimes by a pious devotee of God. Of the four works, which are compared with the four Vedas, the Tiruvaimoli is considered to be the most important. In the 1,000 verses of this work Nammalvar invokes Visnu enshrined in Tirukkurugur, Tiruvengadam, Srirangam, Vanamamalai, Tirumalirumsolai, etc., and yearns passionately that he be absorbed into the divine self. He devotes 10 verses to Srirangam while invoking God through the medium of an intense feeling of sympathy of a mother for her distracted and love-lorn daughter. A single stanza will suffice to explain to the literary artist the subtle way in which the Alvar expresses his emotions. She knows no sleep either in the day or in the night; tears stream down her eyes; She raises her hands (in obeisance) to thy conch and the discus;

your lotus like eyes she pines for; ‘How shall I exist without you’ she exclaims; in despair she clutches at the wide earth; What hast thou proposed to do for her, O god of Tiruvarangam, watered by the Kaveri, wherein skip the young fish?1 (Tiruvaimoli, 1-2-7) In verse 3 of this ‘ten’ there is an important reference which goes to show that Srirangam was, in the days of Nammalvar, a shrine surrounded by prakara walls; it refers to ‘Tiruvarangam surrounded by mighty prakara walls adorned by flags and pennons’! But for a few other references to the cool waters (of the rivers) that surround the shrine, it is too much to expect any thing of historical interest in these verses, though each contains much that would engage the attention of a philosopher or literary critic. According to the Vaisnava tradition the recitation of the Tiruvaimoli in the Srirangam temple, during the famous Adyayana festival, is continuing ever since Tirumangai Alvar established that practice. After the demise of Nammalvar his devout sisya, Madurakavi, installed an image of his guru in a shrine at Tirumangai and was glorifying his name in various ways. The Koil-Olugu adds that he was occasionally going over to Srirangam to inquire after the temple affairs.2 (K.O.p.9)

Kulasekhara Alvar
Alvar Kulasekhara is one of the later Alvars who were intimately connected with Srirangam, the others being Tondaradippodi Alvar, Tiruppan Alvar and Tirumangai alvar, and all these were roughly contemporary. Perhaps we know more about Alvar Kulasekhara from his own words than any other Alvar. He calls himself a king of the Kongu country with the capital at Kolli.3 (Perumal Tirumoli, 3-9, 6-10) In course of time he became a great devotee of Visnu, abdicated his kingdom in favour of his son and after visiting many famous Vaisnava shrines retired to Srirangam, where he lived till his death along with his daughter Cerakulavalli doing manifold services to the God and the temple. Kulasekara Alvar was perhaps one of the early Kerala kings, frequently referred to in the copper plate grants of the Pandya kings of the 8th century A.D. as their victims on the fields of battle. He was certainly not the famous Cera king, Ravivarman Kulasekhara, who came to power about 1311-12 A.D., for epigraphical evidence goes to show that the Alvar’s verses were being sung in the Srirangam temple in the 11th century, and perhaps earlier.4 (62 of 1892; SII IV; 70.) It may also be noted that he refers to Tondaradippodi in one of his verses; and it is just possible that

the former was having in his mind the Alvar of that name.5 (Perumal Tirumoli, 2-2) Perumal Tirumoli is the work of Kulasekhara Alvar. Mukundamala in Sanskrit is also attributed to him. The former abounds in interesting references to Srirangam. This work consists of 105 verses divided into ten ‘tens’. The intense love of God which the Alvar exhibits in expressing his humble devotion in these verses, couched in the most lovable and moving terms, can only be compared with that exhibited by Tondaradippodi Alvar in his Tirumalai; and certainly these two works excel each other in their choice diction and fineness of expression. Even as a ruler Kulasekhara was fond of the Ramayana and the two shrines of Srirangam and Tiruvengadam. In the 1st verse of the 3rd ‘ten’ he declares that he is not going to be one with the wold, which professes what is unreal to be real. In the 4th ‘ten’ which is solely devoted to Vengadam, he expresses the idea that he would rather be a campaka tree or a fish in a streamlet on the Vengadam hills, or a menial servant or a doorstep in the Vengadam temple, rather than be a king. The first three ‘tens’ are devoted to Srirangam to which shrine Kulasekhara was particularly attached. In verse I of the first ‘ten’ he exclaims: “When are my eyes going to see, in great glee, Peria Perumal of graceful form, who resembles a (huge) sapphire, reposing on the beautiful couch formed by the serpent-king Adisesa (Tiruvanadalvan) of thousand hoods that contain gems of dazzling brightness, in the great shrine of Srirangam, where the Kavari of clear water is gently rubbing (the pain off) His sacred feet with her hands (i.e., the waves!)” The verse is a fine example of the poetical skill of the Alvar. In verse 2 he exclaims: “when shall I, holding the tirumanattun (pillar at the gateway of the sanctum), sing the praise of Ranganatha.” In verse 3 he expresses his deep desire to mix himself with the arcakas and offer worship with flowers at the feet of the God at Srirangam. While expressing the same idea in the next verse he calls Srirangam the resort of saints and ascetics. In verse 5 he tells us that it was not exclusively a hermitage but was also inhabited by householders and others; he refers to Srirangam as a ‘place containing luxurious storeyed houses, all riches and prakara walls’. The next three verses contain beautiful allusions to the Kaveri river and the fertile fields and gardens of Srirangam. In the last two verses he exclaims: ‘When shall I see the Perumal and dance in joy and roll myself on the earth in a fit of jubilation! When shall I be one in the gosti of the Srivaisnavas in

the courtyard of Alagiyamanavalan’! In the second ‘ten’ Kulasekhara expresses his deep administration and respect for the fervent devotees of God Ranganatha and sings their praise. In verse 3 of this ‘ten’ he says that he would adorn his forehead with the mire in the courtyard of the Srirangam temple, formed by the joyful tears shed by those who sang the praise the God. In verse 5 again there is reference to the prakara walls, this time, ‘the mighty and big prakara walls’. The remaining verses of the ten are filled with the idea of the Alvar losing himself in delight over the fervent devotees of the God at Srirangam and their unqualified devotion. In the third ‘ten’, also addressed to the same God, he declares his asceticism and expresses his deep sense of hatred for the materialistic objects. The Koil-Olugu says that Kulasekhara married his daughter Colavalli (a mistake for Cerakulavalli) to God Alagiyamanavalan, repaired the buildings and walls of the third enclosure, and constructed the Senaivenran tirumantapa in the southwestern corner of that enclosure. The enclosure itself is known as Kulasekharan tiruvidi.6 (KO.p.6.) The Srirangam temple has a shrine for Cerakulavalli.7 (ST.pp.48, 104)

Periyalvar and Andal
A native of Srivilliputtur (Ramnad dt.), Visnucitta or Periyalvar devoted himself with the sacred service of offering flowers and garlands to Visnu, enshrined in the local temple. ‘Goda’ or Andal was his famous foundling daughter, the garlands worn by whom were particularly acceptable to the God; hence her name Sudikkodutta Goda or Goda who offered (garlands) to the God after herself wearing them.’ The Pandya king of his time, according to the hagiologies was Srivallabha, while the Alvar himself refers to him as Nedudmaran. It is said that this king held a religious disputation in his court and that Visnucitta, who won the prize of this disputation (porkilli or gold tied in a cloth), converted the Pandya to Vaisnavism. The Pandya king of the 8th century, who was converted to Vaisnavism, may be identified with Maravarman Rajasimha I (740-765 A.D.) on the ground that his predecessor, who bore the title ‘Maran’ or ‘Maravarman’, was Arikesari Parankusa Maravarman (970-710 A.D.), who was converted from Jainism to Saivism by Sambandar and hence was not a Vaisnava. This is supported by epigraphical evidence too.8 (Madras Museum plates, IA XXII pp.72-75) The date of the daughter of the Alvar, Andal, has been sought to be fixed independently from certain astronomical details. The reference

to the simultaneous rise of the Venus and the setting of the Jupiter in the first hours of the full moon day in the month of Margali occurring in the Tiruppavai (verse 13), yield only one date in the 8th century, viz., the 18th day of December 731 A.D. They also correspond to two days in the years 885 and 886 A.D. but it was already shown that such dates in the 9th century are too late for the later Alvars.9 (M.Raghava Aiyangar, Alvarkal Kalanilai. pp.79-81) Periyalvar’s work is called ‘Periyalvar Tirumoli’ which includes a group of 10 benedictory verses, well known as the Tiruppallandu. In this work the Alvar gives out his soulful devotion to God in the form of the fondest love of the mother for the frolicks of the babe; here the mother is Yasoda and the babe Lord Krisna. In the 3rd ‘ten’ of the 3rd centum he regards the Gods at Srirangam and Tiruvengadam as manifestations of Krishna.10 (Periya Tirumoli 3-3-2-4) In verse 3 of this ‘ten’ Yasoda laments her hardheartedness in having sent her baby son, Krisna - ‘Madusudana, enshrined in Srirangam, surrounded by big enduring walls and adorned by the Kaveri river and flower gardens’ - to tend the cows. The 8th, 9th and 10th ‘tens’ of the 4th centum are entirely devoted to Srirangam. They are full of references to the gardens and the natural beauty of Srirangam, watered by the Kaveri. Verse e1 of the 8th ‘ten’ refers to the ghats of the Kaveri, where bathe the ‘Todavattittuimaraiyor’ or ‘the cleanly dressed Srivaisnavas well-versed in the Vedas’.11 (Todavatti seems to be a corruption of ‘dhautavastra.’) Though this expression generally refers to the Vaisnava brahmins yet it is interesting to note that a distinct branch of the arcakas of the Srirangam temple, with duties in the sanctum sanctorum, was known by this name. The Koil-Olugu refers to them by this name, and also that of Ullurar; perhaps to begin with both were identical. Verse 2 mentions Srirangam inhabited by Srivaisnavas, who performed Vedic sacrifices and fed their guests. Verse 8 again refers to the prakara walls. Verse 2 of the 9th ‘ten’ refers to the Sriranga Mahatmya as it mentions Ranganatha reposing in the shrine facing south for the sake of Vibhisana. Verse 6 of the 9th ‘ten’ refers to Srirangam as a shrine which throws its effulgence in all directions and which is inhabited by many Vaisnava devotees, ascetics, risis, nityasuris and people from the surrounding tracts. From verse 11 we learn that Srirangam had already attained fame as a shrine in the south and the north. Andal, famed for her beauty, was struck with a real passion for the God at Srirangam, unlike the other Alvars, who could only liked themselves to a loving young woman; none but God Ranganatha would she marry, and certainly not a mortal. In a verse of her Nacciyar Tirumoli she declared “If

ever a mortal man were chosen for me, O Cupid, be sure I will lay down my life”.12 (Nacciyar Tirumoli, 1-5) Ranganatha, who had already chosen her as His bride, commanded Periyalvar, in his dream, to bring his daughter to Him. The father accordingly took Andal to Srirangam, where we are told the loving devotee became one with the god. Much different from this general account of the Guruparamparais is that of the Divyasuricaritam, whose central theme is the marriage of Andal with Ranganatha, which is described in the right epic fashion just like the marriage of Uraiyurvalli with the same God in the Lakshmi Kavyam. The Caritam says that Periyalvar conducted the marriage of his daughter, after obtaining the blessings of Nammalvar, who was attended by the Alvars Poigai, Bhutam, Pey, Tirumalisai, Tondaradippodi, Kulasekhara and Madurakavi; and that Tirumangaimannan, who waylaid the marriage party consisting of Ranganatha, Andal and others, was converted by the divine bridegroom. It is evident that this kavya makes all the Alvars witness the marriage in order to glorify its theme. Periyalvar, who was left alone returned to Srivilliputtur in great sorrow at the separation, to which he has given the most pathetic expression in his verses.13 (Periyalvar Tirumoli, 3-8 (10 vv). The Tiruppavai and the Nacciyar Tirumoli are the two works of Andal. The former has only 30 stanzas, which are devoted to the performance of a ceremonial vrata by the peasant girls, in the early mornings of the month of Margali, with the young Krisna in the fore. The latter has 14 ‘tens’, in which she expresses her passionate love for Visnu. In the 7th ‘ten’, e.g., she envies the conch in the left hand of the God because of its close association with His lips. Verse 4 of the 11th ‘ten’, which is devoted to Srirangam contains a reference to the storied houses and prakara walls, of Srirangam, and verse 7 again refers to the mighty enclosing walls. The Koil-Olugu, which like the Guruparamparai, calls the Pandya contemporary of Periyalvar Vallabhadevan, says that he gave a lot of treasure to God Alagiyamanavalan14 (This refers to the procession image of Ranganatha and means ‘the beautiful bridegroom’. The recumbent mortar image in the sanctum is called Periya Perumal.) of Srirangam as dowry, on the occasion of the marriage of Andal, the daughter of his teacher, with the God. It also says that the Pandya erected a shrine at Srirangam for Andal (now called the Veli Andal Sannidhi or the Outer Andal shrine).15 (K.O. pp.23-24)

Tondaradippodi Alvar
Vipranarayana alias Tondaradippodi Alvar (Bhaktanghrirenu) was a

Vipranarayana alias Tondaradippodi Alvar (Bhaktanghrirenu) was a native of Mandangudi, in the Tanjore district. As a great devotee of Visnu, he migrated to Srirangam, pretty early in his life, and devoted himself with the sacred service of providing garlands of basel and flowers for the use of the God.16 (Tirumalai-45) It is said that Devadevi, a courtesan, who was patronised by the Cola king at Uraiyur, approached this devotee with the set purpose of seducing him from his unerring devotion and finally succeeded. Once her vanity was gratified she no longer cared for poor Vipranarayana, who, however, lingered at her doorstep. The Guruparamparai tells us that Alagiyamanavalan of Srirangam took pity on him; and the divine pity manifested itself quite ironically indeed, for the God did not resurrect him from his fall, but egged him in his evil course by going to the courtesan’s house one night and handing over to her a huge gold vessel belonging to the temple while he represented Himself to be a servant of Vipranarayana bearing his present to her. Thus did God restore to him his dignity in his fall. The loss of the vessel, however, was found out the next morning, the vessel itself traced and Devadevi imprisoned by the royal servants. Vipranarayana to whom ultimately the crime was attributed, was also imprisoned. It was then that he realised his folly and his inner nature could discern the hand of God behind his inexplicable crime. He was subsequently released when the God informed the king in a dream of His part in the drama. It was after these trials that Vipranarayana became Tondaradippodi Alvar and sang the pieces ‘Tirumalai’ and ‘Tiruppalli-elucci’ both devoted exclusively to Srirangam. According to the Vaisnava tradition Tondaradippodi Alvar was the younger contemporary of Tirumangai Alvar. Both the Guruparamparai and the Koil-Olugu say that when Tirumangai Alvar was constructing a prakara wall, the place where Tondaradippodi used to sit and make garlands barred the further progress of the wall; that Tirumangai spared the resort of Tondaradippodi and made a deviation in the course of the wall; and that the latter, out of gratitude for Tirumangai, christened the sickle in his hands Arulamari (one of the titles of Tirumangaimannan). Into the Tirumalai of 45 verses the Alvar has infused all the genuine fervour of a fresh convert to the right conduct; the lowest of the lowly positions he was in is contrasted with the real and lasting happiness flowing from a loving devotion to God. In the opening verses he expresses his scant regard for those materialistic people who do not worship Ranganatha. He brings home the point when he says: “Better the dogs eat the food of those who will not say (i.e., worship) Tiruvarangam of the beautiful gardens, where hum the bees, where dance the peacocks, where sing cuckoos, whose tree

tops reach the clouds, and where dwells Ranganathan.17 (Tirumalai-14) In verse 2 he declares that he would fondly adhere to the loving worship of the God at Srirangam, ‘whose mouth is like coral and eyes like lotuses,’ and spurn even the rulership of the kingdom of the Gods if it were offered to him. In the succeeding verses he falls foul of rank materialism as well as the nonVaisnava sects of Buddhism, Jainism and Saivism. In verse 16 and Alvar tells us of his own unholy past and he was resurrected by the beneficent God of Srirangam. The same autobiographical detail we find mentioned also in verse 33. In verse 19 he gives us an accurate picture of the posture and position of the reclining image of Ranganatha in the sanctum of the temple. It says: “(Not only my heart but even) my body melts when I see the God of the sea like hue reposing on the serpent couch, facing Lanka in the south, with His back to the North, His feet extended towards the east and His head pointing to the west”. The next verse describes the chest, the shoulders, the eyes, the lips, the mouth and the beautiful crown of the Ranganatha image. Verse 23 again exhibits the loving devotion of the Alvar born of his personal and intimate association with the God. ‘How can I, the poorest of the poor, ever forget the unique posture in which our benevolent Lord Ranganatha is reposing in Srirangam of beautiful gardens lying in the midst of the Kaveri (rivers) fowing on either side’. Verse 29 exemplifies the Vaisnava canon of object surrender to the divine will in the most touching terms: ‘I was not born in one of your holy shrines, I have not served on the ‘devadana’ lands, I have no relatives nor friends, I have not been thy devotee. O Most Supreme One, Krisna of the hue of the clouds! I cry in despire; you are my sole protector.’ The next seven verses are replete with this idea of the Alvar, with all his loneliness and disqualifications, crying out for the mercy of the God in the profoundest humility. In verse 38 the Alvar tells us that saints and ascetics adorned the courtyard of the Srirangam temple. That among such devotees were to be found members of the low castes also and that worshippers belonging to divers creeds devoted themselves to the service of Ranganatha without any distinction is clear from verses 42 and 43. This has been, especially in its early stages, one of the attractive features of Vaisnavism; and that among the Alvars are to be reckoned a woman, an untouchable, a king, brahmins and others is clear proof that distinctions of caste, sex or status did (???????? 18. ST. p. 128-129) not matter to these saints, whose only qualifications were loving devotion and complete self-surrender to God. The Tiruppalli-elucci, the Alvar’s other work of 11 stanzas is devoted to the waking up of Ranganatha early in the morning. The facts that the Alvar was a supplier of flowers to the temple, and that he sang the

Alvar was a supplier of flowers to the temple, and that he sang the Tiruppalli-elucci, as well as his own name, Tondaradippodi, go to show beyond doubt that he was actively engaged in the daily temple ritual, and was perhaps devoted to doing personal services to the God. In verse 5 the Alvar refers to Srirangam as the shrine that is worshipped by the Ceylonese king (i.e., Vibhisana), a reference to the Stalamahatmya. In verse 8 he shows his intimate acquaintance with the ritual of singing the aubade and the paraphernalia of the cow, the vessels, the mirror, etc., associated with it. Tiruppan Alvar Tiruppan Alvar was so called because he belonged to the low caste of panas or wandering bards, playing on the instrument known as yal. He was a native of Uraiyur and great devotee of Visnu enshrined in Srirangam. Fully conscious of his low birth he did not dare cross the Kaveri into Srirangam, and it was his habit to sing the praise of Ranganatha in soulful melody from the river Kaveri. The God, who was struck by his single minded devotion, wanted to take him into His fold and ordered his devout brahmin servant, Lokasaranga Muni to fetch the bard to His presence on his shoulders. The Alvar, who considered it high sacrilege to step into the shrine, had to yield to the divine command, and his loving devotion overflowed all bounds when he stood face with the grand object of his dream. In his 10 beautiful verses beginning with Amalanadipiran he describes to us the image of Ranganatha in exquisite terms of intense love. In each stanza the Alvar (Yogi-vaha) describes a part of the Ranganatha image or its apparel as he saw and enjoyed it. In verse 1 he says that the ‘lotus like feet of the God of Srirangam surrounded by high walls’ had entered his eyes, as it were. In the 2nd verse he tells us that his mind was fully taken up by the ‘gold-laced apparel or pitambara adorning the legs and abdomen of the God reposing in Srirangam of sweet-smelling gardens’. In the 3rd verse he says that he was deeply impressed by the ‘beautiful navel of Visnu from which sprang Brahma’. In the 4th verse he mentions with equal zest, ‘the gold belt adorning the belly of the God of Srirangam, where dance the peacocks to the tune provided by the bees’. The next verse mentions the bejewelled chest of the God, where resides the Goddess, Sri or Lakshmi. In the next verse the Alvar says that he was resurrected by the God, whose neck swallowed (during the deluge) the entire universe with all its contents’. In the next verse he tells us that the corallike red mouth of the God had appropriated all his thoughts to itself. In the next verse he declares that ‘the wide and long, and bright and black eyes of Ranganatha, with red streaks’ had turned him mad. In the 9th verse he is

beside himself at seeing such an image as a whole; he says: ‘Alas! The endless and incomparable beauty of the divine frame, which is of the hue of the blue-water-lily’, decorated by countless ornaments of precious metals and pearls, has robbed away my mental stolidity.’ In the 10th verse he ends by saying that having fed his eyes upon such a dear God - Alagiyamanavalan - he would not look at anything else.

Tirumangai Alvar
Tirumangai (or Parakala) was, to begin with, a petty chieftain of Alinadu in the Cola country. He loved and married Kumudavalli, the daughter of a Vaisnava physician of Tirunangur, and with her led the life of a munificent householder. Not only did he expend his all but dived his hands deep into the state-coffers in his enthusiasm for helping the Vaisnava devotees. The Cola had his erring feudatory arrested, though the latter proved, at first, to be recalcitrant. The Guruparamparai says that he paid off all the state dues in Kanci by the grace of Visnu. It appears that he belonged to a family of highway robbers; and on this hereditary profession the erstwhile chieftain fell back in order to meet the expenses of his devotional activities. While he was thus engaged he waylaid a marriage party, the bridegroom among whom was no other than Visnu (Alagiyamanavalan of Srirangam), who whispered into his ear the sacred mantra and thus converted him into a fervent Vaisnava devotee. Thereupon Tirumangai undertook a wide pilgrimage in the course of which he visited a very large number of Vaisnava shrines and sang their praises. The Guruparamparai also credits him with having won over Tirugnanasambandar, the great Saiva saint, in a religious disputation at Siyali. But the Divyasuricaritam simply says that they met together in a friendly spirit and departed. Finally he settled in Srirangam where he actively devoted himself with the sacred service of repairs and additions to the temple; and once more when his funds dwindled he did not hesitate to rob and plunder in order to refill his coffers, though for a sacred cause. The prakara wall of Srirangam which he raised, it is said, owed its existence to the gold image of the Buddha in the Buddhist palli at Nagapattinam, which he plundered. That he was a chieftain of Alinadu, a valiant commander of a small force of men and horse, a munificent patron of Vaisnava devotees and such details regarding his life can be gleaned from his own words. A lists of his title is given by himself in one of his verses.19 (Periya Tirumoli 3-4-10) It was mentioned above that the Vaisnava tradition regard, Tirumangai as the last of the Alvars. In view of the fact that according to the self-

same tradition many of the later Alvars were contemporaries the normal inference would be that this Alvar survived the rest. On the basis of the statement of the Guruparamparai that there was an interval of 200 years between the last of the Alvars and the first of the Acaryas and working from the known date of Ramanuja we come to the 8th century for Tirumangai. It is significant that the Alvar mentions in his ‘ten’ on Paramesvara Vinnagaram the names of three villages, where Nandivarman II Pallavamalla (715-775 A.D.) won victories over his Pandya foe, viz., Mannai, Nelveli and Kalidurgam.20 (Ibid. 2-9-3-, 5 and 8) The victories are referred to as past events. In some of his verses the Alvar hints at his growing old age.21 (The ‘tens’ on Badari and Tirunaraiyur.) His prodigious tours and compositions are in themselves fairly strong testimony to his fairly long life. It is likely that the Alvar was living in the last years of the reign of the Pallava king mentioned above or perhaps survived him.22 (For details of the controversial points, e.g., the contemporaneity of Tirumangai with Sambandar, see M.Raghava Aiyangar (op.cit.pp.84-153); Dr.S.Krishnaswami Aiyangar on the date of Tirumangai Alvar (IA. XXXV. Pp.228 ff.); Sen Tamil vols.III (p.483), IV (p.61) and XXI (pp.5-6); Tamil Varalaru by K.S.Srinivasa Pillai, (pp.137-143) ) Next to Nammalvar Tirumangai Alvar is the most prolific contributor to the 4,000 verses that go to make up the Prabandam collection. The form and content of his Periya Tirumoli resemble in a very large measure those of the Tiruvaimoli of Nammalvar, and it is the orthodox view that his six works, viz., Periya Tirumoli, Tirukkurundandagam, Tirunedundandagam, Tiruvelukkurrirukkai, Periya Tirumaalai and Siriya Tirumaalai form the auxiliaries of the four works of Nammalvar just as there are six Vedangas for the four Vedas. The ideas of absolute self-surrender and loving devotion to God flow more or less in the same channels as in the Tiruvaimoli. He resembles Tondaradippodi Alvar when he confesses his own past sins and begs for divine grace in the profoundest humility. It is clear from his works that he visited a very large number of Vaisnava shrines, to each of which he dedicated a ‘ten’ or more in his Periya Tirumoli. Tirumolis 4,5,6,7 and 8 of the 5th centum of the above work are exclusively devoted to Srirangam. Each of the ten verses of the 4th Tirumoli describes an achievement of Visnu in the first two lines and the natural beauty of His shrine surrounded by the rivers and gardens in the next. These verses very much resemble those of Tirumalisai Alvar in the Tiruccandaviruttam, referring to Srirangam. In verse 5 of this Tirumoli there is a reference to the prakara walls. Verse 7 refers to Srirangam

‘fragrant with the scent of the smoke issuing, on the one hand, from the tall houses, where are burnt the scented wood like the ‘aghil’, etc., and, on the other, from the sacrificial fires kindled by the Vedic brahmanas’, thus testifying to the fact that Srirangam was active and much advanced in both the secular and religious spheres. Verse 9 again refers to the prakara walls. The 5th Tirumoli is concerned with the familiar theme of the mother sympathising with her lovelorn daughter. Here the Alvar exclaims that the madness caused in the maiden by the God or Tiruvarangam could not adequately explained. Verse 5 is typical of the rest. These verses again resemble those of Nammalvar handling the same theme with reference to Sriranganatha. In each verse of the 6th Tirumoli the Alvar describes an achievement of Visnu, in one of His avatars and says that he saw Him at Tennarangam. The Tirumolis 7 and 8 are likewise taken up by an enumeration of the qualities and achievements of Visnu enshrined in Srirangam. According to the Vaisnava tradition Tirumangai Alvar made arrangements for the recitation of Tiruvaimoli in the Srirangam temple. The Koil-Olugu tells us much about the connections of Tirumangai Alvar with the Srirangam temple. It says that while Tirumangai was residing at Srirangam Madurakavi was glorifying the name of his departed guru Nammalvar by installing his image at Tirunagari and conducting many festivals for him and was also going over to the Srirangam temple often to look after its affairs (Srikaryam). During a certain Tirukkartikai Mahatsava Tirumangai sang the Tirunedundandagam and his other works in the presence of the Perumal and the Nacciyar (goddess), illustrating them with gestures (abhinaya). The Perumal, who was mightily pleased with the Alvar, asked him what He could do for him. To this the Alvar replied that it was his great desire that H should hear both the Vedas and the Tiruvaimoli of Nammalvar recited on the next Adyayanotsava days23 (i.e., ekadasi of the suklapaksa or bright half of the moth of Margali.) and grant the Tiruvaimoli a place of equality with the Vedas. The Perumal immediately granted the latter request and agreed to hear the recitations. A divine communication or Tirumugappattaiyam was sent to Tirunagari informing Nammalvar of the Perumal’s intention. Consequently Madurakavi left Tirunagari along with the image of his guru and reached Srirangam on the day preceding that of the Adyayanotsava. He was welcomed by Tirumangai Alvar and others. When Nammalvar was taken into the sanctum of the temple the Perumal welcomed him and called him ‘NamAlvar’ or ‘our Alvar’. This name stuck and gradually replaced his proper name Satakopa. Under the commands of the Perumal the image of Nammalvar was housed in the shrine of Tirukkuralappan, which was previously serving as a sandhya-matam.24 (K.O.p.10) With the next dawn commenced the









festivities of the Tiruadyayanotsava in the Alagiyamanavalan-tirumantapa of the temple. While the Veda were recited in the daytime Madurakavi, representing his guru recited the Tiruvaimoli during the nights; and these recitations continued for ten consecutive days and nights. On the 10th day, when both the recitations were brought to a close, the Perumal seated Nammalvar on His own seat, did him such other high honours and sent him back to Tirunagari along with many presents. Madurakavi and Tirumangai took the image of Nammalvar to Tirunagari with great eclar. The Koil-Olugu says that thenceforth the image was brought over to Srirangam from Tirunagar for every annual Adyayana festival. From the same account it is know that Ramanuja discontinued this practice and installed an image of Nammalvar in the Srirangam temple. Secondly the name of Tirumangai Alvar is prominently associated with some structural additions to the Srirangam temple. The 4th outer enclosure is called after him Alinadan tiruvidi. Both the Divyasuricaritam and the KoilOlugu speak of his building activities. The caritam says that Tirumangaimannan who did not find enough funds to finish the construction of the third Prakara wall that had been left incomplete, hit upon the plan of plundering the Buddhist Palli at Nagapattinam. From the treasure so derived he not only completed the wall but constructed many paddy granaries, the temple kitchen, walls and gopuras. The golden image of the Buddhist palli, however, did not suffice to meet the expenditure of his ‘six fold Kainkaryas’ and ultimately the sculptors and the host of labourers began to clamour for their wages. Tirumangai promised to pay them in Tiruvellarai, on northern bank of the Coleroon, and when they were crossing that river in a boat he had that boat upset and thus found an easy disposal of an otherwise difficult case with the thought that those unpaid labourers would reach heaven, having lost their lives in divine service.25 (Divyasuricaritam (Tamil translation by Ettayapuram Vidwan Sami Aiyangar Swami) pp.122-138.) This incident has already been referred to in connection with the name ‘Kollidam’ and it was said that it also find mention in the Guruparamparai and the Prappannamrtam. The Koil-Olugu credits the Alvar with the following: (1) A 100 pillared mantapa in the northeast of the Rajamahendran enclosure (i.e., the second enclosure surrounding the sanctum), wherein was to be conducted the annual Adayayanotsava, (2) the walls of the Kulasekharan enclosure (i.e., the third enclosure surrounding the sanctum) with the northern and southern gateways and gopuras, (3) the tirumantapa with its procession path in the south-west, and the kitchen halls in the south-east of that enclosure, (4) the wall encircling the fourth enclosure with its northern and southern gopuras, and a raised structure and a tower in the northern gopura for

gopuras, and a raised structure and a tower in the northern gopura for Eduttakai Alagiyasinga Nainar, (5) the store house in the southwest of the fourth enclosure and a granary to its north, and a huge procession path extending from the south to the north of that enclosure, (6) The flooring of the procession path along the fourth enclosure; and (7) the building of the Dasavatara temple and the institution of a cremation ghat to its north, which the Alvar named Padiyavalanturai or Tirumangaimannan’s ghat.

Srirangam, an active Vaisnava shrine about the 8th century A.D.
From the references to Srirangam by the Alvars, mostly belonging to the 8th century, we come to know many points of interest to a historical account of the shrine. It is significant that while the latter Alvars refer to the Prakara walls we do not find any such reference among the works of the early Alvars. The various descriptive references made by Kulasekhara Alvar to the reclining image in the sanctum of the Srirangam temple (Periya Perumal) adorned with flowers and garlands unmistakably go to show that actual worship was being conducted in his time by a set of arcakas attached to the temple. Periyalvar’s references to the Tondavattittuimaraiyor is significant. Tondaradippodi Alvar’s references to the image and the idea behind his Tiruppalli-elucci point to the same conclusion. Again Tiruppan Alvar’s references to the gold-belt and the pittambara of the sanctum image leave no doubt that worship was accompanied with the adornment of the image. Tirumangai Alvar not only contributed largely to the physical growth of the temple but made arrangements for the recitation of the Tiruvaimoli therein. The mention of the courtyard of Alagiyamnayalan, where assemble Srivaisnava devotees of God, ‘the courtyard of the Srirangam temple made sloughy by the tears shed by the hymnists’ and ‘the wandering devotees of Ranganatha preaching the right conduct’ in the verses of Kulasekhara paints an unfailing picture of a temple already alive as a human institution with the daily puja, etc. being conducted in the sanctum and the singing of devotional pieces by groups of Srivaisnavas in the courtyard, a picture of the South Indian Vaisnava temple of the 8th century. Add to these the references to ascetics thronging the shrine and the wealthy householders living in storied houses, evidently inside the prakara walls, and we see raised before us an image of the temple city of the same period.


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Events of Today Histats



In this chapter are traced the fortunes of the Srirangam temple covering the period from the 10th to the 12th centuries, from A.D.924, the date of the earliest Cola inscription in the temple, to A.D.1178, the close of the reign of Rajadhiraja II, when the Cola decline began and the Pandyas rose to power. This was an eventful period in the history of the temple. Srirangam became the headquarters of the Vaisnava movement under the resourceful Acaryas, the greatest of whom was Ramanuja. The latter was both the Vaisnava pontiff and the warden of the temple. We have numerous inscriptions in the temple of the Cola kings of this period detailing their gifts and benefactions. They do not throw any direct light on the activities of the Acaryas, for which tradition as recorded in the Guruparamparai is the only source. In this period the temple grew in organisation, wealth and resources.

Cola inscriptions in the temple of the 10th century A.D.
The earliest Cola inscription in the Srirangam temple is dated in the 17th year of Parantaka I (A.D.907-955). It registers a gift of 30 gold pieces for a permanent lamp, 40 for camphor, one for cotton wick besides the gift of a silver lamp-stand made to the temple. The Sabha of Tiruvarangam took charge of the endowments. The donor was one Sankaran Ranasingan.1 (72 of 1892; SII.IV.519.) The next inscription is dated in the 38th year of the same king and it registers a gift of 100 Kalanju of god for the Tirumanjanam (holy bath) of Sriranganatha by the Sahasradarai (‘1000 holed’) plate. The donor was one Pallavaraiyan. This gift too was entrusted to the Sabha of Tiruvarangam.2 (71 of 1892; SII.IV.518.) Another inscription of this king dated in his 41st year records a gift of two plots of land by a certain Acciyan Bhattan Sri Vasudevan Cakrapani of Peruvengur (in Vila-nadu) for cake offerings to the God of Srirangam on the ekadasi day during the Panguni festival in the temple.3 (95 of 1936-37.) The Anbil plates of Parantaka II or Sundara Cola, who reigned from A.D.956 to A.D.973, record the grant of land which the king made to a Brahmana minister of his called Aniruddha, a native of Premagriha (Anbil near Srirangam).4 (E1.XV.pp.44 ff.; K.A.Nilakanta Sastri The Colas (II

edn.) p.149) The plates say that the donee came of a family of great devotees of Ranganatha of Srirangam and refer to the particular attachment of his mother and grandfather to the God. The next record is dated in the 15th year of Uttama Cola (A.D.984) and registers a gift of gold by Sridharan Kumaran, a Malayali of Ravimangalam in Valluva-nadu, a subdivision of Melai-nadu, for providing a lamp with ghee and with Bhimaseni-karpuram in front of the God of Srirangam (Tiruvarngattu Perumanadigal.5 (65 of 1938-39) The practice of burning lamps with ghee, with camphor dissolved in it, mentioned here, is noteworthy. Three fragmentary records of Rajaraja I (A.D. 985-1014) record gifts of gold to the temple, the details of which are lost.6 (341-343 of 1917-18.)

Rajamahendra Cola, a benefactor of the temple
The name of Rajamahendra is prominently associated with the Srirangam temple as the builder of the second prakara wall and the second enclosure itself is known as Rajamahendran tiruvidi. Who is this Rajamahendra? He is not to be identified with Mahendravarman Pallava as was sought to be done by K.V.Subrahmanya Aiyar7 (IA.XL.p.134.) but with Rajamahendra Rajakesari, son of Rajendra II (1052-1064).8 (K.A.Nilakanta Sastri: The Colas (II edn.) p.247.) He was a crown-prince and predeceased his father in 1063. It is quite likely that he was acting as the regent at the capital while his father was engaged in the distant wars with the Calukyas. That he was carrying on the peaceful administration of the country is attested by the Kalingattupparani as well as his prasastis. The Koil-Olugu, which wrongly places Rajamahendra Cola before Koil-Olugu, which wrongly places Rajamahendra Cola before Tirumangai Alvar,9 (This is obviously because Rajamahendra Cola is associated with the first prakara and Tirumangai with the third.) says that he laid the pavement of the sanctum thus putting a stop to water oozing on to the surface whenever there were floods in the Kaveri and constructed the second prakara wall, and that the second enclosure is known after him. This tradition finds confirmation in the Vikramasolan Ula, composed by Ottakkuttan, who lived during the reigns of Vikrama Cola, Kulottunga II and Rajaraja II. In this work the poet says that Rajamendra made for the God at Srirangam a serpent couch set with several gems, but makes no mention of the construction of a prakara wall by the Cola. Whatever be the discrepancy between these two traditions regarding the benefactions there is no mistaking the fact that the benefactor in question was none other than Rajamahendra Cola.

The First Acaryas

In the period of the first great Colas the Vaisnava Acaryas, particularly Ramanuja, were quite active in Srirangam. These saints are usually placed in two groups, viz., the Acaryas from Nathamuni to Ramanuja and those who succeeded Ramanuja. It was stated above that according to Vaisnava tradition there was an interval of about 200 years between the last of the Alvars and the first of the Acaryas. During this interval the prabandas of the Alvars are said to have fallen into oblivion. The Koil-Olugu indicates that subsequent to the good days in which the Perumal of Srirangam heard every year the Tiruvaimoli recitations inaugurated by Tirumangai Alvar bad days followed in which the prabandas fell into obscurity, religious classes and discourses had ceased and Nammalvar no longer came to Srirangam all the way from Tirunagari to hear the Tiruvaimoli recited. What is the explanation of this interval of obscurity and inanition of Vaisnavism? During this period, i.e., roughly from the 8th century to the 10th we do not find in South India any remarkable social or political upheaval that might have told adversely upon the peaceful religious pursuits of the Vaisnava teachers in temples. It was the period of Cola ascendaney subsequent to the decline of the Pallavas and the Pandyas. The interval of religious decadence,’ it would be seen, is purely a fiction created by the latter day hagiographer who wanted to tell a continuous tale and hence had to offer some sort of explanation for a period in which no saint flourished. After Tirumangai Alvar, who lived in the 8th century, the next important Vaisnava teacher, viz., Nathamuni came in the 10th century and it is futile to find an explanation for this gap.

Nathamuni and Srirangam
Nathamuni, the son of Isvara Bhatta, was a Vaisnava devotee of Tirunarayanapuram or Kattumannar Koil (South Arcot district) and was engaged in serving Visnu enshrined in the local temple. There he heard from some brahmanas from the west (i.e. Kerala) a ‘ten’ from the Tiruvaimoli beginning with Aravamudu. At Tirunagari he heard the ten verses beginning with Kanninunciruttambu, sung by Madurakavi in praise of Nammalvar. Anxious to get the entire Tiruvaimoli and not finding anyone who knew the whole by heart he did penance invoking Nammalvar for a long time. To reward his yoga Nammalvar appeared before him and gave him not only a kosa or copy of his work, the Tiruvaimoli, but those of all the other Alvar and initiated him into the Vaisnava darsana. The gradual disappearance of the prabandas and their sudden reappearance through the efforts of Nathamuni need not be taken seriously. According to the Vaisnava tradition Nathamuni first collected together the various Prabandas of the Alvars and made arrangements for

their recitations in the Srirangam temple; and it will be easily seen that the orthodox account of his yogic feat is nothing but an exaggeration of his real and substantial work in connection with the Vaisnava anthology the Nalayirapprabandam. Adhering to the Vaisnava tradition of an interval of 200 years between the disappearance of the Prabandas and their reappearance we get the 10th century as the age in which Nathamuni must have flourished. Kali 3924 or A.D.823, the date given by the Koil-Olugu for the birth of Nathamuni, has to be rejected because it brings him very near the Alvars and hence contradicts the above traditions. Referring to the activities of Nathamuni in Srirangam the Koil-Olugu says that he organised regular classes in which he expounded the import of the Prabandas and asked his pupils to propagate them in turn. To his goes the credit of having made the verses of the Nalayirapprabandam a living force among the Srivaisnavas by incorporating them into the daily routine of an orthodox Vaisnava as well as that of a Vaisnava temple. As a result these verses, though of considerable antiquity, have come to stay more as a religious institution being recited in gostis in Vaisnava temples by successive generations of Bhattas than as a piece of classical literature surviving only in books and known only to antiquarians or historians. The Tevaram hymns form the Saivat counterpart. We are told that Nathamuni fixed the times of upakarma and utsarjana (i.e. commencement and temporary suspension of the recitation of the sacred hymns) for the Tiruvaimoli, laid down the procedure regarding the recitations etc., to be adopted in the Karthikai festival and the Adyayanotsava, grouped the various prabandas into the Mudalayiram, Iyarpa, etc., and counted them to be 4,000, and made arrangements for recitations of the other Tirumolis over and above the Tiruvaimoli, in what is called the Tirumoli festival created by him. Nathamuni himself recited these verses, illustrating them with gestures, during the Tirumoli and Tiruvaimoli festivals, and trained his two nephews Kilaiyagattalvan and Melaiyagattalvan10 (These names mean ‘Alvan of the eastern house’ and ‘Alvan of the western house’, respectively) to sing and dance like himself during those festivals. These two began the line of the successive Arayar of the Srirangam temple with distinct duties and appropriate honours in the presence of God during festivals. The practices regarding the recitations of the Prabandas started by Nathamuni in the Srirangam temple were followed in other Vaisnava temples. Srirangam was rapidly becoming the accredited headquarters of the Vaisnava movement in South India.

Ramanuja and Srirangam
After Nathamuni Uyyakondar and Manakkal Nambi, in succession, exercised control over the Vaisnava darsana from Srirangam. The successor of Manakkal Nambi was Alavandar, the grandson of Nathamuni. The next pontiff was the great Ramanuja. The Guruparamparai credits him with a long life of 120 years, from S.939 (indicated by the chronogram dhirlabda) or A.D. 1017 to S 1059 (dharmonasta) or A.D.1137. Ramanuja was born at Sriperumbudur, near Madras. From his native place he migrated, as a lad, to Tirupputkuli, near Kanci, to prosecute his studies in the Vedanta under one Yadavaprakasa. As the studies advanced differences developed between the teacher and his precocious pupil and the latter left for Kanci, where he settled down as a householder and devoted himself to the divine service of supplying water for purposes of puja to the shrine of Devapperumal. Alavandar, who was aware of the talents of Ramanuja, chose him as his successor and sent Periya Nambi to Kanci to fetch him to Srirangam. Alavandar, however, was no more when Ramanuja came to Srirangam, and the later was struck with remorse when he saw the lifeless body of the former stretched on the funeral pyre. In utter despair Ramanuja left Srirangam, it would appear, even without worshipping the Perumal enshrined there and returned to Kanci. Subsequently the Vaisnava preceptors of Srirangam joined together and, with a view to fulfill the desire of Alavandar, once again sent Periya Nambi to Kanci to bring back Ramanuja. Meanwhile Ramanuja had been told by Perarulala Perumal, the God of Kanchi, that Periya Nambi was the guru at whose feet he was to seek spiritual salvation. Without losing any more time he left Kanci, where they stayed together for a short time. During this period domestic quarrels arose and the teacher quietly left his pupil and returned to Srirangam. Ramanuja, who knew that his wife was the cause of this upshot, renounced his family and became a sanyasin. Immediately disciples flocked round him and the most important of these were Mudaliyandan and Kurattalvan. The Vaisnavas of Srirangam welcomed this news and this time they sent the Arayar of the temple, well known as Tiruvarangapperumal Arayar, to fetch Ramanuja to their shrine. The Arayar succeeded and finally Ramanuja came to Srirangam. The Guruparamparai narrates his entry into the shrine a well as the divine welcome that was accorded to him in a right orthodox fashion, and the grandeur of the manipravala style adopted is indeed inimitable. The God Alagiyamanavalan bestowed upon him the title of Udayavar or ‘possessor’ (of the Ubhaya vibhuti aisvaryam, i.e., the wealth consisting of nitya vibhuti or eternal bliss and leela vibhutin or wordly happiness) and asked him to

administer the affairs of the temple.

Reforms in the Temple
From this point the Koil-Olugu begins a long and detailed recital of the reforms introduced and the administrative arrangements made by Udayavar in connection with the affairs of temple, while the Guruparamparai dismisses these with a few generalised statements. From his gadi in the Ceran mutt in the north street of the Trivikraman enclosure (i.e., the north Uttara street) Udayavar assumed control over the administration of both the darsana (doctrine) and the temple. He began with a thorough inspection of the store-house and the treasury and daily made searching inquiries into the routine expenditure involved and the rights claimed by the arcakas and others with duties in the temple. This detailed investigation became intolerable to some of the temple servants, one of whom coerced his wife to serve poisoned food to Udayavar while on his daily rounds for begging alms. The honest wife obeyed her husband but cleverly indicated to the begging ascetic the nature of the alms by circumambulating him after having parted with the aims, which was not her usual practice. Udayavar suspected something and threw away the poisoned food. This is mentioned as an instance and Udayavar had to face considerable opposition to his scheme of purification. The Olugu says that consequently he left Srirangam and lived in Tiruvellarai for two years. The better sense of the temple servants ultimately prevailed and Tiruvarangapperumal Arayar fetched Udayavar back to Srirangam. Now he had to face the intractable high priest of the temple, Periya Koil Nambi, who would not brook subordination to him or accept his schemes of reconstruction. Kurattalvan, the devout disciple of Udayavar, was, however, able to bring Periya Koil Nambi to the right path. Nambi now became the fervent disciple of Udayavar, under the name Amudan - well known as Tiruvarangattamudanar - and composed the Ramanuja-nurrandadi, a centum in praise of Ramanuja. He also surrendered his office as high priest and his exclusive right to read out the puranas in the temple to Udayavar. The latter had to face no more troubles and he executed his plan of reconstruction unhindered. The following is a summary of the reforms and administrative arrangements effected by him. (1) He appointed Akalanga Nattalvan, his disciple, to inquire into the incomes from the temple lands. The latter was a Cola chieftain, who is said to have become a disciple of Udayavar after his return from Tiruvellarai. The Nattalvan or Nadalvan is mentioned in several records of the time of Rajadhiraja II (acc.1163) and Kulottunga III (acc.1178) under the name

Virrirundan Seman.11 (20 of 1937-38, pt.II, para 41; 267-269 of 192630, pt.II, para 24; and 73 and 275 of 1936-37, pt.II, page 71.) If he had been actually a disciple of Udayavar he must have long survived him. It is also likely that the chronicler of the Olugu made the local chieftain a disciple of Udayavar to glorify the Acarya. (2) The shrine of Dhanvantri, which had long been neglected and gone out of use, was renovated and an image of Dhanvantri or the Divine Physician was installed therein, taking advantage, it is said, of a slight indisposition of the God caused by the offering of naval or jambu fruits and curd rice by Mudaliyandan. He placed his disciple Garudavahana Bhatta in charge of the shrine and made arrangements for the supply of milk and medicinal decoction (kasaya) to the God every night. The institution of the Arogyasala or the Dhanvantri shrine is even now remembered as one of the chief reforms of Udayavar in the Srirangam temple. From his days the successive managers of this shrine have been known by the title of Garudavahana Bhatta.11a (An inscription of Kulottunga I (62 of 1892; SII. III.70) refers to Arayan Garudavahan alias Kalingarayar.) (3) He removed all the Vaikhanasa priests from the temple and firmly established the system of worship described in the Parameswara samhita of the Pancaratra agama. He created a new set of priests known as Bhagavata Nambis. (4) The condition of the different seals, viz. The Garuda seal and the seals of the Discus (Cakra) and the Conch (Sankha), under whose authority many rights were exercised, and the state of accounts of the temple were found to be in great disorder. Udayavar caused a reshuffling of the ownership of these seals; he kept the seal of the Discus to himself, left the seal of the Conch under the control of the Bhagavata Nambis, and allowed the Garuda seal to continue under the Talaiyiduvar or Stanattar. He also reorganised the accounts and placed them under the control of two persons with distinct duties. (5) The most important reform he effected was the complete reorganisation of the temple services and groups of temple servants. Before the days of Udayavar all the duties connected with the temple were divided among five groups of servants, viz., Kovanavar, Kodavar, Koduvaleduppar, Paduvar and Talaiyiduvar. According to the Koil-Olugu these five groups were in existence before the days of Tirumangaimannan.12 (KO.p.46-7) Having in mind, perhaps, the rapidly growing volume of the temple services Udayavar divided these into 10 main groups of Brahmana servants and 10 groups of Sudra

these into 10 main groups of Brahmana servants and 10 groups of Sudra servants. Three other groups were also created and their duties fixed. The entire scheme came to be well known as Udayavar tittam. (6) Certain important changes and additions were made in the procedure and conduct of the annul adyayanotsava that added much lustre to the festival as a whole. From the days of Tirumangai Alvar it was the custom for the temple parijanas to fetch Nammalvar from the distant Tirunagari to witness the Tiruvaimoli and other recitations during the above festival. Taking advantage of the impossibility of bringing Nammalvar from Tirunagari on a certain Adyayanotsava, perhaps due to heavy floods in the Kaveri, Udayavar installed the image of Nammalvar in the Srirangam temple and stopped the procedure of bringing the Alvar all the way from Tirunagari. (7) He also installed in the temple the images of the Alvars, Andal and Nathamuni and made arrangements for the celebration of many festivities in their honour like taking them in procession to the Perumal on the days of their natal asterims. (8) He laid down extensive regulations with regard to the recitations of the Divyaprabandas and in this he seems to have followed largely the lead of Nathamuni. In his days a new addition was made to the Prabandam collections and that was the Ramanuja-nurrandadi of 108 stanzas. (9) He instituted a huge cattleshed in Solanganallur, on the northern bank of the Coleroon, for the supply of milk to the temple. He also installed there the image of Krisna as guarandian deity. He had a small gosala or cowshed erected in the south-eastern corner of the Citra street, where he stationed a few cows, so that milk may be had if required suddenly for purposes of worship, etc. (10) He had the daily routine of temple worship conducted strictly according to the injunctions of the Pacaratra Agama; made detailed arrangements for the celebrations of all festivities for the Perumal and the Alvars, and conducted the daily, fortnightly, monthly, annual, and the great utsavas or mahotsavas with grandeur and thus glorified the name of Srirangam.

Meanwhile Udayavar had fully equipped himself with the Sastras and scriptures the Vedanta and the Vaisnava darsana as the disciple of old veterans in the field like Tirukkottiyur Nambi, Tirumalaiyandan, Tiruvarangapperumal Arayar, Tirumalai Nambi and others. Then he proceeded to commit to writing his own interpretations of the Vedic texts

proceeded to commit to writing his own interpretations of the Vedic texts based on the Vaisnava doctrine-the Visistadvaita-and his explanations of that doctrine. With the help of Kurattalvan he wrote down his monumental works, viz. The Sribhasyam, the Vedanta Dipam, the Vedanta-saram and the Gita Bhasyam. Having achieved so far the guru wanted to commence a tour of religious disputation - a digvijaya - and establish the supremacy of the Vaisnava doctrine in all directions. With the permission of Periya Perumal (the mula beram) of Srirangam he appointed Mudaliyandan to exercise supreme control over the affairs of the temple, and started on such a tour in the company of Kurattalvan. The Guruparamparai credits him with a tour of all India. When he came to Tirupati there was dispute raging in that shrine whether the God there was Visnu or Skanda. Udayavar appeared as the arbiter and decided the case in favour of the Vaisnavas. Then he returned to Srirangam, where he settled down once more as the head of the Vaisnava darsana. Quite pleased with the way in which Mudaliyandan had looked after the temple during his absence he reappointed him in the position of supreme command over the temple affairs. “Thus was Udayavar superintending and controlling the temple administration and the Vaisnava doctrine for 60 caturmasas in the sacred shrine of Tiruvarangam, himself being worshipped by 70 jiyas, 12,000 ekangis, 74 Acarya purusas and innumerable Srivaisnavas.”13 (KO.p.104)

The Cola persecution and retreat into the Hoysala country
The peaceful life of Ramanuja in Srirangam was disturbed when the Cola king, with a strong partiality for Saivism, insisted on Ramanuja and his followers subscribing to the doctrine “there is none greater than Siva” Sivat parataram nasti. Ramanuja felt his position in Srirangam unsafe and hence betook himself to the west. i.e. Mysore. In this period the Mysore country had just been freed by the Hoysalas from the Cola hold and it is natural that the Vaisnava teacher should have gone there for asylum. Periya Nambi and Kurattalvan, who represented their Acarya in the royal court, upheld the supremacy of Visnu, but the Cola was not prepared for arguments. He compelled them to write down Sivat paratarm nasti. Kurattalvan wrote it down but immediately beneath it also wrote Drona masti tatah param, meaning ‘drona is greater than Siva,’ thus punning upon the word Siva, which means both the God Siva and a small measure, drona being a bigger one. This was intolerable to the Cola and he ordered Periya Nambi and Kurattalvan to be blinded. The aged Periya Nambi could not bear the torture and he died. Kurattalvan, who survived, retired to Tirumalirumsolai. Ramanuja stayed in the Mysore country for 12 years, enjoying according to the Vaisnava tradition, royal favour. He was staying in Tirunarayanapuram or

Melkote with his 52 devout disciples when news was brought from Srirangam by Maronrilla Maruthi Ciriyandan that the persecuting Cola, dubbed Krimikantha Cola, was no more. This enabled Ramanuja to return to Srirangam.

Kulottunga I (1070-1120 A.D.)
Krimikantha Cola is generally identified with Kulottunga I (1070-1120 A.D.14 (See K.A.Nilakanta Sastri, Colas. Pp.295-96, 300, and 644, for different views.) Some scholars would prefer to identify him with Adhirajendra, who had a short reign of less than a year (in 1070) and who was killed in the course of a popular uprising. But according to Vaisnava tradition Ramanuja lived as an exile in the Mysore country for 12 years at the close of which he returned to Srirangam on hearing of the death of Krimikantha. Adhirajendra did not rule for 12 years, and it is a sheer impossibility to crowd the many achievements of Ramanuja in exile into the short period of less than a year of the reign of Adhirajendra. If on this ground the identification of Krimikantha with Kulottunga I is correct the date of the return of Ramanuja to Srirangam is to be placed round about 1120 A.D. Though it is true to say that the Cola monarchs were ardent patrons of Saivism it need not be concluded from this nor from the account of the persecution of Ramanuja that there was a general persecution of the Vaisnavas and the Vaisnava temples in the Cola period. From the Cola inscriptions we know that they extended their patronage to both the Saiva and Vaisnava temples. But kings were often victims to advisers and favourite dogmas and sometimes the rule of general toleration was broken. There are several inscriptions of Kulottunga I in the Srirangam temple.15 (61 of 1892, SII. IV, 508, 62 of 1892; SII. III.70, and 117-127 & 129-132 of 1938-39 (ARE); also pt.II. para 18.) One mentions the king by his title, Jayadhara, and his minister Vanadhiraja, who figure as the donor.16 (56 of 1938-39.) Another, dated in his 13th year, refers to Senapati Virarajendra Adiyaman, who made a gift of land for a flower garden to the temple.17 (118 of 1938-39) Two more military officers of the king figure as donors in other records. One is Arigandadevan Ayarkolundinar alias Senapatigal Ganagikondasola-Munaiyadarayar of Kottur in Arumolideva Valanadu, who figures as the donor of a flower garden, named after him. The same person also donated a lamp.18 (123 of 1938-39.) The other was Senapatigal Vira Cola Munaiyadarayar, who made a grant of 50 kalanju of gold for the recitation of the Tiruppalli-elucci and Tiruvaimoli by five

nimantakaras (temple servants).19 (61 of 1892.) This epigraph is dated in the king’s 15th year. Another epigraph, dated in his 18th year, records the provision of 6 ! kasu (gold pieces) made by Arayan Garudavahan alias Kalingarayar for offerings on three nights when the text Tettarundiral20 (The second ‘ten’ of the Perumal Tirumoli by Kulasekhara Alvar begins with these words.) was recited during the festivals in the months of Aippasi and Panguni. The Malyala officers of the king, belonging to the Perudanam and sirudanam, made a gift of a chauri called Ayiravan (with a gold handle) for service to God Anantanarayanaswamin, who “was pleased to recline at Srirangan”.21 (130 of 1938-39.) It is significant that a number of generals and officers of Kulottunga I figure as the donors of the Srirangam temple. This is unlikely if the king had been a Saiva fanatic. In the present state of our knowledge and with the traditional account of the Guruparamparai as the basis we can only conclude that the persecutor of Ramanuja was not Adhirajendra but Kulottunga I. It was the audacious statement of Kurattalvan, who made a joke of the dictum of the king, viz., Sivatparataram nasti that was perhaps responsible for the blinding order. Ramanuja felt himself unsafe and so he left the Cola territory altogether. For aught we know even the blinding of Kurattalvan might have been a hagiographical invention, for the Guruparamparai tells us that the Alvan regained his eyesight later on through divine beneficence. There is good reason to believe that the account of persecution is highly exaggerated.

Vikrama Cola (1120-1133)
From inscriptions we know that Vikrama Cola spent a large part of the state revenues derived in 1128 A.D. upon the Cidambaram temple by way of structural additions and sumptuous benefactions. Nataraja of Cidambaram was his family deity. The Koil Olugu says that the same king constructed the 5th prakara wall of the Srirangam temple, with its gateways and gopuras. The following are also attributed to him. (1) A gosala or cowshed and a shrine for Krishna in the northeast of the 5th enclosure, (2) a shrine for Rama in the southwest. (3) a shrine for Nacciyar in the northwest, and (4) an installation of Garuda in the Peria Tirumantapa in the 4th or Alinadan enclosure. The 5th enclosure of the temple is known as Akalangan Tiruvidi, Akalangan being a title of Vikrama Cola. There is no direct epigraphic confirmation of the above account. The Srirangam temple, however, contains a single inscription of Parakesarivarman alias Tribhuvana Vikrama Coladeva dated in his 16th year (1134 A.D.) A high regnal year not met with in other inscriptions of his.22 (33 of 1936-37; pt.II para 71

met with in other inscriptions of his.22 (33 of 1936-37; pt.II para 71 (Vikrama Cola was crowned in 1118 A.D. when his father, Kulottunga I, was alive). This simply records a private gift of land and throws no light on the king’s interest in the temple. Yet it is significant to note that ‘Vikrama Colacaturvedimangalam’ is mentioned in a few inscriptions of the later Pandyas in the temple in connection with the formation of the colony called ‘Kaliyugarama-caturvedimangalam’, in the neighbourhood of Srirangam.23 (42, 43, 44 and 47 of 1936-73.) The Koil-Olugu says that the son of Krimikantha Cola was a wellmeaning monarch. Even while his father was contemplating to persecute the Vaisnavas he tried to dissuade him from his evil intents but failed. After the death of his father whose acts he very much repented, he came to the Srirangam temple with the Cera and Pandya kings and made consultations with them in the following strain: ‘Temples and their endowments have always been governed by Brahmanas and there had been no royal encroachments. MY father, who violated this rule, suffered terribly. Even now I will call back Udayavar and in your presence hand over to him the entire authority over the temple’. Sending Maronrilla Marathiyandan to fetch back Udayavar the three kings returned to their respective cities. When the envoy returned with Udayavar the Cola24 (The KO calls this Cola by the name Kulottunga (p.108), probably a generic name for the kings of the dynasty of KulottungaI.) rushed to Srirangam, handed over to Udayavar the control of the temple and registered the transfer in a dana sasana or deed of gift. When he begged for a discipleship at the feet of the Acarya, the latter willingly made him the disciple of his own disciple, Mudaliyandan to whom he transferred the control of the temple, which had so long been administered from the palace. The Koil Olugu ends this account by saying that Udayavar caused these details to be inscribed on the wall of the Aryabhattal gateway.25 (KO.pp.107-8) The Guruparamparai and the Divyasuricaritam give no such account of a patronising Cola. It is not possible to justify this story on epigraphical grounds.

Kulottunga II (1133-1150)
Kulottunga II, like his father, devoted his energies to the remodeling and renovation of the Nataraja shrine at Cidambaram. Both his inscriptions and the Kulottunga-Colan Ula of Ottakootar make prominent mention of his activities on behalf of this shrine. In his zeal for Saivism he removed, in the language of the Ula, the little God (Visnu) from the courtyard of the sacred hall of Tillai.26 (Kulottunga-Colan Ula.11. 77-8) According to the Vaisnava tradition Ramanuja heard of the desecration of the Govindaraja shrine at











Srirangam.27 (The Koil-Olugu, however, says that Ramanuja installed the Govindaraja image at Tirupati while he returned to Srirangam from Mysore. This cannot be true if it is held that the Acarya returned to Srirangam soon after the death of Kulottunga I. See KO.p.210-1. The descration, then, has to be taken to the period before Kulottunga II, which goes against the evidence of Ottakkootar.) He immediately proceeded to Tirupati, whither the Vaisnavas of Cidambaram had escaped with the image of Govindaraja, and installed it in a shrine there by the side of the older shrine of Parthasarathy, whose image had become mutilated and hence unfit for worship. The earliest record of Kulottunga II, which makes specific mention of his activities at Cidambaram, comes from Tiruppurambiam and is dated in his 7th year, i.e., 1140. The desecration of its image and its reconsecration in a newly built shrine at Tirupati may roughly be assigned to this date. Ramanuja returned from Tirupati via Kanci to Srirangam, where he continued to administer the Vaisnava darsana for some time at the end of which he ‘left this for the abode of Visnu’. His death occurred probably in 1150, as the restoration of the Govindaraja image in a shrine in Tirupati is according to all accounts the last important event in his life. Roughly then Ramanuja’s life extended over the century 1050-1150. If we strictly adhere to the traditional dates for the birth and death of Ramanuja, viz., 1017 and 1137 it is doubtful whether it would be possible to accommodate the reconsecration of the Govindaraja image as also a period of peaceful administration of the darsana from Srirangam subsequent to it between these two dates. An inscription of Kulottunga II in the Srirangam temple, dated in his 11th year, register and endowment of land after purchase (from the temple itself) for a flower-garden by three private individuals, who also made additional gifts of money for the maintenance of five gardeners.28 (55 of 1936-37.) Another inscription in the temple dated in his 7th year purports to be an order issued by the deity leasing the temple lands to the ‘Kovanavar’ who were to plant coconut and area palms thereon and to pay annually a specific part of the yield to the temple.29 (57 of 1936-37)

Rajadhiraja II (1163-1178)
Kulottunga II was succeeded by Rajaraja II (1150-1173), and the latter by Rajadhiraja II (acc.1163) who ruled upto 1178. There are two inscriptions of this king in the Srirangam temple.30 (63 and 73 of 1936-37) They record gifts of money to the temple, one for a lamp and the other for

They record gifts of money to the temple, one for a lamp and the other for the expenditure involved in the conduct of certain festivals. The donor figuring in the latter is one Virrirundan Seman alias Tirukkuraivalartta Akalanga Nadalvar of Tiruttavatturai (Lalgudi). The Koil Olugu mentions him as a disciple of Ramanuja.31 (KO.pp.45 & 55) The donor figuring in the former epigraph was one Perumal alias Rajaraja Uttamasetti, a native of Kurattipattinam in Kaivara-nadu, a subdivision of Poysalanadu, who also presented a big forehead jewel (sutti) to the God Periya-Perumal. Both are dated in the 9th year of the king (i.e., 1172).

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Events of Today Histats

Chapter 5


THE PERIOD OF THE DECLINE OF THE COLAS AND THE REVIVAL OF THE PANDYAS In this chapter the fortunes of the Srirangam temple are traced during the period 1178-1310, the former being the date of the death of Rajadhiraja II and the beginning of the independent reign of Kulottunga III and the latter the date of Malik Kafur’s invasion of Ma’bar. This was the period of the decline of the Cola Empire and the revival of the Pandyas. The Cola Pandya conflict produced disturbed conditions in the Tamil country and they gave a good opportunity for intervention by the neighbouring powers viz., the Hoysalas of Mysore, the Ceylonese rulers, the Ceras, the Kakatiyas, and the Eastern Gangas of Orissa. The Hoysalas came with the ostensible object of helping the Colas against the Pandyas and in the course of their intervention acquired a compact territory for themselves in and around Kannanur or Vikramapuri, near Srirangam, which became their subsidiary capital. The Eastern Ganga forces came to fish in the troubled waters and occupied the Srirangam temple and adversely interfered with its administration. An inscription in the temple says that they were expelled by the forces of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I in 1225 and that normalcy was then restored. But for this incident and until the Muslim attacks of Malik Kafur in 1310-11 and Ghiyasuddin Tughlak in 1323 the temple did not suffer in any way from the political upheavals of the day. On the other hand the new powers that had superimposed themselves over the Colas extended their patronage to the Srirangam temple as lavishly as they could in an attempt to outdo their predecessors in this regard. A long Sanskrit record of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I on the walls of the temple runs into raptures over his numerous benefactions, which included the gold plating of the vimana and setting up an image of the God made of gold to “the tip of the nails”. The Hoysalas were also rich benefactors and a few additions were made to the temple in the course of their rule from Kannanur. Though their political power was wanting the Colas continued their patronage of the temple as attested by their numerous inscriptions. The temple had reached its highest point of wealth and influence before it was desecrated and impoverished by the Muslim raids of 1310-1311 and 1323. In religious matters Srirangam continued to be the headquarters of

Vaisnavism in South India, and the successors of Ramanuja were both Vaisnava pontiffs and wardens of the Ranganatha temple. This was also the period when the seeds were sown for the split of the Vaisnava ranks into Tenkalai and Vadakalai. This aspect will be dealt with in the next chapter.

Kulottunga III (1178-1218)
An inscription of Kulottunga III in the Srirangam temple dated in his 19th year describes his victories over Vira Pandya (the rival of Vikrama Pandya).1 (66 of 1892; SIL. III.88.) It is an order of the king to his revenue officers purporting to proceed from God Ranganatha “This is the everlasting great order of the holy Sriranganatha, who is the cause of the creation, protection and destruction of the three words,” but unfortunately the contents of the order are lost. The prasasti, however, is in tact. Its contents, dealing with his military achievements, are, however, not relevant to our purpose. An inscription dated in the 6th year of the king (1184) registers a gift of the village Tiruvaippadinallur made tax-free for special worship and offerings to the god. Alagiamanavala Perumal and the goddess on the day of the Daivattarayan festival by the gopalas, who owned the tenancy rights in Valluvappadinadu (in Musiri Taluk, Trichy District.) in Karikalakanna-valanadu. The donors agreed to pay, in addition, the tax on 250 veli of temple lands. It is not known who Daivattarayan was, who instituted this festival.2 (61 of 1936-37; also p.71.) The next record dated in the king’s 7th year registers an endowment of 2,000 kasu by a lady and her daughter for the merit of the former’s husband Vagalarkodali alias’ …. Natha Pallavaraiyar with the monthly interest on the amount, given as 40 kasu (a high rate of interest working out to 24 per cent per annum) worship was to be conducted to the god on the day of Rohini, every month, which was the natal star of the deceased.3 (76 of 1936-37) The next record dated in the 8th year of the king registers a gift of land in Kamappullur (North Arcot District) alias Sungamtavirtta-Cola-caturvedimangalam by Prithvigangan for maintaining a flower-garden in Periyakoil (Srirangam). As the land endowed was situated far away evidently its income alone was to be utilised for rearing the flower garden at Srirangam.4 (258 of 1938-39.) The next record in the 19th year of the king (1197) registers the gift of 12 bhujabala madai (gold coins) to the Srirangam temple for a lamp by Nunkama Mahadevi, wife of Madurantaka Pottappiccolan alias Siddharaisan (i.e., the Telugu Coda Nallasiddharas, a subordinate of Kulottunga III).5 (67 of 1936-37.) The last in this series is dated in his 20th regnal year and refers to the floods in the river Kollidam and the consequent erosion into the lands of the temples of both Srirangam and Jambukesvaram. As there was

need for a resettlement of their boundaries the king issued orders through Gangayadeva of Annavayil to his local tax collecting officials, i.e., those who collected the taxes from the temple lands (puravu vari kuru saivar and puravu vari naykam saivar) to settle the boundary dispute between the Vaisnava and Saiva temples. The officers concerned held consultations with the representatives and superintendents of both the temples, i.e., representatives of the sabha or the local assembly and the accountants of the two villages, and gave their award taking into consideration the holdings of the two temples as they were before the erosion, in the 19th year of the king, and the actual enjoyment of rights of both the parties. A suitable exchange of lands in some cases was also suggested. The award was satisfactory to both the parties, who demarcated their respective portions by planting boundary stones with the mark of the tiruvali (Vishnu’s cakra) and the sula (Siva’s trident).6 (113 of 1938-39.)

RAJARAJA III 1216-57 Odra occupation of the temple 1223-25
Rajaraja III was less resourceful than his father and he was defeated by the forces of Maravarman Sundara Pandya II (1238-51). His feudatories began to assume independence. The Hoysala king, Narasimha II (A.D.1220-35), championed the Cola cause against the Pandya and other foes and led repeated expeditions into the Tamil country. One of these occurred in 1221-22 and was directed against Srirangam.7 (EC VI Cikmagalur, 56.) An inscription of his dated in S.1145 (A.D.1223) refers to his victorious march against the Trikalinga kings.8 (EC V.Cannarayapatnam, 203.) It is certain that about this date Nirasimha did not lead an expedition to the Kalinga kingdom. That the Odras or the forces from Kalinga or Orissa were in occupation of the Srirangam temple in 1223-25 is known from an inscription in the temple of the Pandya Maravarman Sundara I, (1216-38), who is said to have expelled them from the temple in the latter year.9 (53 of 1193; SII IV.500.) Hence it is possible to infer that Narasimha II marched in 1222 upon Srirangam against the Eastern Kalinga forces, who were probably advancing against the same shrine about that year. But we have no knowledge of the sequel though Narasimha’s inscription refers to his pursuit of the Trikalinga kings “penetrating their train of elephants displaying unequalled valour.” The Odras were expelled by the Pandya forces ultimately as is known from the inscription of Maravarman Sundara Pandya, which is also of immediate interest to us. It runs thus. “By order of Maravarman Sundara Pandya, “who was pleased to

present the Cola country”, - in his 9th year (1225) -, we Jiyar Narayana Dasar, Alagiyasola Brahmarayar in charge of the temple and its environs, Periya Tirupati Srivaisnavas, the various temple servants, the Bhagavata Nambis, the members of the Sabha of Tiruvarangam, the Vinnappamsaivar (choristers), Sripadam-tangum Nambimar (the vehicle bearers), the various nimantakaras (temple servants) including the Aryas (with their duties) at the gateway (the Arya Bhattal), the Bhattas or the arcakas, the Srivaisnava devotees of Emberumanar (Ramanuja) and the Srivaisnavas of the 18 Mandalas that had come to witness the great festival met together in the west of the Rajamahendran enclosure and came to the following settlement: The ‘ten persons’ (the heads of the ten groups of temple servants), who were governing the temple from ancient times, joined with the Oddas and collected Oddukasu (a levy for the Oddas) from the temple and the nimamakaras. They also gave the Oddas paddy from the temple lands and in various other ways destroyed the property of the temple. As a result one day’s provision for the temple had to be utilised for many days; and on certain days puja was not celebrated at all. Thus was the temple worship intercepted for about 300 days in the last two years. These ‘ten persons’ appropriated to themselves the temple lands in various localities and shared the yields (including taxes) with the Oddas. Thus the temple worship was interfered with and the property of the Sribhandara (the treasury of the temple) squandered away. The temple servants were impoverished. This gave rise to loud complaints and protests. Now the regime of the Oddas is over and our Samantanar (Senapatis, i.e., the Pandya generals) have taken possession of the temple as belonging to the rightful government. The landed properties were all restored and all the temple services were properly conducted. The persons responsible for the above wrongs were dismissed from the temple. Now the temple servants belonging to the different groups (Tirupati kottu) are to be chosen by lot. At the close of each year they are to be replaced (by election). This annual election is to apply also to the various committees of Srivaisnavas”. The inscriber is said to be a temple accountant by name Haricaranalayappirian. Here, for the first time, we get epigraphical confirmation, in a way, of Ramanuja’s activities in Srirangam in the mention of the ‘Srivaisnava devotees of Emperumanar’ among persons intimately connected with the temple. This epigraph supplements in a large measure that of Kulottunga I, noted above,10 (61 of 1892.) so far as the temple organisation is

concerned. At least five groups of temple servants or Kottus among the ten enumerated by the Koil-Olugu, in connection with Ramanuja’s reforms in the temple, are mentioned in this inscription. The existence of the ten groups is also clearly recognised. The five mentioned are the Bhagavata Nambis, the Sripadam Tanguvar (or Stanattar), the Vinnappamsaivar, Aryabhattal, and the Bhattalkottu. The well known facts that the medieval South Indian temple was an owner of extensive lands, that it possessed a treasury of its own and that it was an organised institution working with the help of groups of servants and elected committees and protected by kings in troublous times are also amply borne out. The mention of Rajamahendran tiruvidi is again significant in that it confirms the traditional association of Rajamahendra with the Srirangam temple recorded in the Vikrama-solan-ula and the KoilOlugu. The troubles of the Srirangam temple due to the Odra occupation noted above are also narrated by the Koil-Olugu, but it gives a wrong date for the Orissan invasion. It places the invasion during the pontificate of Uyyakonda and Manakkal Nambi, i.e., roughly during the 10 century. It gives a new piece of information, viz., that the God of Srirangam was removed, for purposes of safety, to Tirumalirumsolai, where He stayed for about a year. When the image was restored it was found that some temple servants including the arcakas had turned traitors to the cause of Ranganatha, that Vaikhanasa priests had taken over worship and that men of non-Vaisnava creeds were living independently in Srirangam. The Olugu, however, is unaware of the restoration effected by Maravarman Sundara Pandya but simply says that Alavandar expelled the non-Vaisnavas and was gloriously administering the darsana. Alavandar again came much earlier.11 ESTABLISHMENT OF HOYASLA INFLUENCE

Effects on the temple:
During 1230-31 Rajaraja III made an attempt to over throw the Pandya yoke, was defeated by the forces of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I and imprisoned by his own Kadavaraya feudatory, Kopperunjinga at Sendamangalam, and was restored to his position by the forces of Hoysala Narasimha II. The latter had established their camp at Paccur, two miles north of Srirangam, and Narasimha directed his campaigns against the Pandya from there. The real object of the Hoysalas was to seize some territory of the Colas while ostensibly going to their help against the Pandyas. Consistent with this policy they changed sides and lent their support to the weak Maravarman Sundara Pandya II (1238-51) against the

energetic Coli crown-prince, Rajendra, who became king in his own right (Rajendra III) in 1257. As a result Hoysala Somesvara (1235-54) succeeded in establishing a subsidiary capital at Kannanur, five miles north of Srirangam, in the heart of the Cola kingdom. It was called Vikramapurai. Inscriptions in the Srirangam temple in which Hoysala officers and others figure as donors range between 1232 and 1248, but the reigning king mentioned is invariably Rajaraja III and not Narasimha II or Somesvara. The Cola and Hoysala kings had even entered into matrimonial alliances in this period probably on the understanding that Srirangam and Kannanur were to be recognised as Cola and Hoyasala respectively. An inscription dated S.1154 or A.D.1232 registers a gift of land on the occasion of a lunar eclipse for offerings to Ranganatha during the early morning service by Sriramabhattan of the Bharadwaja gotra (Bhardwajakulatilakan). The door is said to have lived in the time of king Naraharibhupala (Narasimha II), and to the shrine Tirukkulaludina Pillai (Venugopala Krisna), which was built and consecrated by Umadevi, the queen of Ballala II (1173-1220) at the capital Dwarasamudra. The son of a great teacher at Kuruhapura (Kurugur?) he was an ardent Vaisnava and proficient in mantric lore.12 (69 of 1936-37; Pt.II, para 47) Another inscription dated 1233 records a gift of garden by Devaladevi, the queen of Somesvara, to the temple. A sum of 4,000 kasus had been gifted for purchase of eight velis of land for the purpose.13 (54 of 1892; SII IV.501; EI.VII.p.163.) The next record is dated 1238 and registers an endowment of land to the deity of the Srirangam temple by Chattayan, a senaiboga of Bogayadendanayakkar and Vallaiya-dendunayakkar, the dendunayakas (generals) of Devan Somesvaradeva, for his own wellbeing. The gift was made over to Siramapiran Bhattan, the Nambi of Periakoil.14 (158 of 1951-52) The next record is dated in the 23rd year of Rajaraja III, i.e., 1239. It registers a grant of two ma of land, purchased for 8,540 kasu, by Gopannan for providing flower garlands to the deity. The land was made over to the Nambi of Periakoil.15 (156 of 1951-52) The next record is dated in the 6th year of Somesvara, i.e., 1240. It registers a gift of garden to the temple made by Somaladevi, one of the queens of Somesvara. For this purpose she purchased 20 kulis of land at a cost of 3,000 kasu.16 (68 of 1892; SII. IV.515) An inscription dated in the 31st year of the Cola king, i.e., 1247, registers a gift of 1,200 varaha-gajjnam (gadyana) equivalent to 840,000 kasu for worship and offerings during the sandi (worship), instituted in the name of his son Singanna Dandanayakka, in the Srirangam temple by Sankadevannangal (Sankaradevadandanayaka), the mahapradhani of Somesvaradeva.17 (102 of 1938-39.) Singhana was one of the important generals of Somesvara. Another inscription, dated 1248 and

much damaged, refers to Singhanadandesa as a mantri of Somesvara and registers some provision for offerings made by him to the deity.18 (134 of 1938-39.) Another record of the same year registers a gift of 15 varahagajjanam of gold made for the daily supply of garlands to Ranganatha for the welfare of Kamadava, a son of Tikkanai-nacciyar, one of the queens of Somesvara.19 (147 of 1938-39.) The above inscriptions clearly show that friendly relations existed between Rajaraja III and Somesvara. The latter, it was seen above, used his own regnal year in an inscription (dated 1240) recording the gift of a gorden by one of his queens, while the other Hoysala records in the temple carried the regnal years of the Cola. Somesvara patronised, like the other kings of his dynasty, both Saiva and Vaisnava temples, perhaps with a predilection for the former. This could be inferred from his more concrete patronage of the Saiva temple of Jambukesvaram or Tiruvanaikka, lying within a mile to the east of the Vaisnava temple of Srirangam. From his inscriptions in this temple it is known, that he set up images of gods with suitable shrines, in North Jambukesvaram, in the name of his grand father Balala II (Vallalesvara), his grand mother Padmala (Padmalesvara), his father Narasimha II (Vira Narasimhesvara) and his queen Somala (Somalisvara)20. (18 of 1891; 119 of 1936-37.) The Seven-storeyed gopura in the east of the temple is attributed to him by an epigraph.21 (ARE 1892, para 7; 1936-37, pt.II, para 48.) He also instituted in the main temple a festival in his name, Vira-Somesvaran-Tirunal.22 (121 of 1936-37.) These, however, do not justify the assumption of the late Government Epigraphist, Mr.C.R.Krishnamacharlu that Somesvara was a bigoted Saiva, who was hostile to Srirangam. He says: “Somesvara’s records are not found at Srirangam, the famous Vaisnava centre; and this justifies the remarks made in the opening verse of the Srirangam inscription of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I that Somesvara had reduced to a pitiable state the lotus-pond of Srirangam.”23 (ARE 1936-37, pt.II, para 48.) We have just now listed the inscriptions of Somesvara in the Srirangam temple, which do not reveal any hostility of a Saiva monarch against a Vaisnava temple. On the other hand they show the patronage of the members of his family or his officers. So far as the statement in the inscription of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya is concerned it is clearly a poetical convention. It is implied that the lotus in the lotus-pond of Srirangam “suffered” (or had gone into a slumber) under the moon of Karnata, i.e., Somesvara (somamoon) and blossomed again under the rise on the sun among kings, i.e., Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I.24 (The Hoysalas generally encouraged the building of Jaina, Vaisnava and Saiva monuments.) The Kaliyugaraman gopura,

building of Jaina, Vaisnava and Saiva monuments.) The Kaliyugaraman gopura, in the east Citra street, shows the Hoysala symbol of the Gandabherunda on each of its four jambs and the Pandya symbol of a pair of fish on the beams of the ceiling. The gopura closely resembles that of Jambukesvaram built by Somesvara. It may reasonably be stated that the gopura was a product of the joint efforts of the Hoysala king, probably Somesvara, and Jatavarman Vira Pandya (acc.1297), surnamed Kaliyugaraman.25 (19 of 1891.) While referring to an inscription of Narasimha II in Srirangam the Government Epigraphist mentioned above said that the highly ornate shrine of Venugopala-Krisna in the fourth prakara “with sculptures and figurines resembling Hoysala work but with no inscriptions on its walls” possibly came into existence “during the period of the Hoysala occupation of Srirangam and its environs”. I.e., in the reign of Rajaraja III.26 (ARE, 1936-37, pt.II, para 47. So far as “the Hoysala occupation of Srirangam and its environs” is concerned it was suggested above that Kannanur was perhaps the limit of Hoysala occupation and it did not extend upto Srirangam.) Here again the epigraphist was not right as a study of the architecture and sculpture of this shrine does not show any Hoysala feature or influence, neither is there any striking resemblance with those of the Hoysalesvara temple at Kannanur, which is known to have been built by Somesvara.27 (18 of 1891.) It is a true representation of the orthodox South Indian style of temple architecture and perhaps belongs to the late Vijayanagar period. The connections of Hoysala Vira-Ramanatha, son and successor of Somesvara, with the Srirangam temple are dealt with later. JATAVARMAN SUNDARA PANDYA I (1251-68) AND THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE The weak rule of Maravarman Sundara Pandya II came to an end in 1251 and was succeeded by the glorious reign of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I. This celebrated monarch carried everything before him and performed grand digvijaya right upto Nellore, where he performed a virabhiseka sometime after 1264. By 1258 he had trumphed over the Cola and the Hoysala Rajendra III, who became king in 1257, had immediately to accept a subordinate status and pay tribute. Hoysala Somesvara was defeated at Kannanur and forced to withdraw to Mysore about the same year. Three years before this event, i.e. in 1254 Somesvara had set up his son Ramanatha, by Devaladevi, as king of the Tamil province, with Kannanur as capital, and another son, Narasimha (III), by Bijjaladevi, as king of the ancestral dominion with its capital at Dwarasamudra. From inscriptions we know that Vira Ramanatha fought hard against the rising tide of the Pandyas

know that Vira Ramanatha fought hard against the rising tide of the Pandyas and soon regained his hold over Kannanur. In fact he seems to have improved upon his father’s position so far as Srirangam is concerned vis-a-vis the Cola. The rise of the Pandyas was not so much a great blow to the Hoysala as it was to the Cola. This is clear from a study of the Hoysala inscriptions in the Srirangam temple, which has many records of Vira-Ramanatha carrying his own regnal year. This was not the case with Somesvara. We shall first trace the relations of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I with the temple and then those of Ramanatha. Of Jatavarman Sundara there are many Sanskrit and Tamil inscriptions. The most important as well as the longest of his Sanskrit records is that of 30 verses in the Srirangam temple.28 (45 of 1891; EI. III. pp. 7 ff. A shorter inscription referring to some of his gifts is 60 of 1892; SII. IV. 507.) This, in common with the other Sanskrit inscriptions of his, bears no date. The Tamil inscriptions give astronomical data, sometimes combined with the Saka year. Sundara Pandya seems to have first dealt with his neighbour, the Cera, and ravaged his territory, the Malainadu. He then compelled the Cola, who was no more than a protégé of the Hoysala to pay him tribute. He defeated the Hoysalas, who suffered a terrible rout losing many of their valiant generals, treasure, elephants, horses, etc. The fortress of Kannanur was stormed. When the Hoysala forces began to withdraw towards their mountain plateau, i.e., Mysore, according to the inscription of this king at Tiruppunduritti (Tanjore dt.), dated in his 7th year (1258), he desisted from pursuit.29 (166 of 1894; SII. V.459.) This record gives the prasasti or meikkirti of the Pandya. According to it he visited, at the close of his victorious campaign, the famous Saiva shrine at Cidambaram and worshipped God Nataraja. From Cidambaram he proceeded to Srirangam where he wore the garland of victory (vagai), which contained in it margosa flowers from the groves in Uraiyur (Koli), and made rich endowments to the temple by performing many a time the ceremony of tulabhara or ‘ascending the scales’ against jewels and pearls. He roofed with gold the temple of Visnu, in which He reclines on the thousand-hooded Ananta and which is watered by the twin rivers. And in that temple he sat with his queen upon a luxuriously jewelled throne, wearing a golden crown and resembling the morning sun rising on the top of the eastern hill. Poets and scholars sang his praises. His queen Ulagamulududaiyal (‘who possessed all the world’) was attended on either side by the queens of other kings, fanning her with fly-whisks and singing her praises.30 (Ibid.)

The Hoysala forces under Somesvara attempted to recover Kannanur but the king was defeated and killed in a battle fought near Srirangam sometime in 1263-64.31 (Somesvara’s death is assigned to 1263, which is the latest regnal year cited in his inscriptions, (cf. 34 of 1891). Already (in 1254) he had divided his kingdom among his two sons Ramanatha and Narasimha III. The long Sanskrit record of Sundara Pandya at Srirangam (45 of 1891) opens with the statement: ‘Having caused to long for the other world that Moon of Karnata (Hoysala Somesvara), by whom this lotus pond of Sriranga had been reduced to a pitiable state, (and) reinstating in this (lotus-pond of Sriranga) the goddess Laksmi, who is worshipped in the three worlds-king Sundara Pandya rose full of brilliancy like the sun’.) The double triumph over the Hoysalas and other triumphs over the Kadava chief of Sendamangalam, the Telugu Codas of Nellore and their allies placed in the hands of the Pandya enormous booty and treasure, e.g., his Srirangam epigraph says that he plundered the capital of the Kataka (Kadava) king, took a garland of emeralds and offered it to God Ranganatha. His inscriptions testify to the fact that the enormous booty, which he thus acquired, was lavishly spent upon the Saiva and Vaisnava temples at Cidambaram and Srirangam. The long Sanskrit record of the Pandya at Srirangam mentions his benefactions in buildings and gifts. He built a shrine on a gopura for Narasimha referred to as Visnu, ‘who gracefully raises his arms and who has the lacerated demon (Hiranyakasipu) on his lap,32 (The shrine of Eduttakai Alagiyasingar or Mettalagiyasingar on the northern gopura of the fourth enclosure and near the Nacciyar shrine.) and a shrine for Visvaksena (Senaimudaliar), both of which were covered with gold. He covered the main shrine with gold, - an achievement of which he must have been specially proud, as he assumed, with reference to it, the surname ‘Hemaccadana Raja’ (i.e., ‘the king who covered the temple with gold’). This earthly king who sat in state with his queen on a jewelled throne in the temple of God wanted to set up an image of himself and install it but the temple parijanas refused him permission.33 (KO. p.17.) Thereupon he cast an idol of Visnu in gold “to the tips of the nails” and placed it in the main shrine. After his own surname he called it ‘Hemaccadana - Raja Hari’. He covered the inner walls of the shrine with gold and built in front of it a dining hall (for the God, i.e., abhyavahara mantapa or amudu mantapa), which he equipped with golden vessels. In the course of two dining weeks (abhyvahara varas), which he called after his own name, he “filled the capacious belly of the God, which even the fourteen worlds could not fill”.34 (This perhaps refers to the sumptuous feeding of the devotees with the food offered to the deity.) In

sumptuous feeding of the devotees with the food offered to the deity.) In the month of Caitra he celebrated the ‘procession festival’ (Yatrotsava) of the God.35 (This inscription of 30 vv. Is in ornate Sanskrit and is full of poetical imagination, e.g., the month of Caitra is said to be “praiseworthy on account of its bright, wonderful and prosperious days. It is no wonder that those who possess intelligence rejoice, when even the trees, which are devoid of intelligence are in his glee” (i.e., in full flower.) ) For the ‘festival of the God’s sporting with Lakshmi’ (Viharotsava) he built a golden ship. He erected three golden domes, one over the image of Hemaccadana-Raja Hari, one over that of Garuda and the third over the hall which contained the conch (Sankha) of Visnu. The following miscellaneous gifts to Ranganatha are enumerated in the inscriptions: a garland of emeralds, taken from the Kadava king, which clings to the God’s breast and in so doing resembles “the tender arms of the earth (goddess) who has sportively approached from behind to embrace Him”, a crown of jewels, whose splendour extinguishes the light of the jewels on the hoods of Adisesa,” the serpent couch of gold “which glittered as though it had been smeared with the saffron dye of the body of Lakshmi, who was spoting with her husband”, a golden image of Seasa, a golden arch (Makaratorana) “made” with masses of gold taken from the crowns of his enemies and adorned with numerous jewels and under which Hari surpasses a monsoon cloud surrounded by a rainbow”, a pearl garland, a canopy (vitana) of pearls different kinds of golden fruits, viz., areca-nuts, jack-fruits, plantains, coconuts and mangoes, a golden car (ratha), a golden trough, a golden image of Garuda, a golden under-garment, a golden aureola (prabhavalaya), a golden pedestal, jewels and ornaments to adorn the image of the God from the crest to the feet, a golden armour, golden vessels, and a golden throne. The first of the gifts, enumerated above, appears to have suggested the surname, ‘Marakatapritvibhrit, i.e. ‘the emerald king’, which is applied to Sundara Pandya in verse 13 of the inscription. A shorter Sanskrit inscription of the Pandya in the temple refers to his gilding of the vimana and his gift to the God (Bhujangaraja) of a couch or bedding (sayya), gateway (dvara), and canopy (vitana), which he had captured from his enemies.36 (60 of 1892; SII. IV.507) The Koil-Olugu gives a more elaborate account of the benefactions of Sundara Pandyadeva under two heads.37 (KO.pp.15-18.) The first describes the gifts made under the supervision of the temple accountant called Pallavan Vilupparaiyan Kariamanikkam.38 (Pallavan Kariamanikka, the temple accountant. Pallavan was, according to the Olugu, a title enjoyed by the accountant of the temple, Vilupparaiyan is one who reads the accounts of the temple in the presence of the deity.) It is likely that the great benefactor appointed his own man to keep the accounts of his expenditure on

benefactor appointed his own man to keep the accounts of his expenditure on the temple. The second refers perhaps to the series of gifts made in the direct presence of the Pandya. All the gifts mentioned in the inscription are elaborated in the Olugu. It is said that Sundara Pandya built 24 tulapurusa mantapas in the four inner enclosures and performed tulabharas therein. The inscription says: “Repeatedly performing the ascending of the scales every day at the shrine of the Lord of Ranga the sun among kings would have doubtlessly broken up (Mount) Meru for the sake of gold, had it not borne the (Pandyan) emblem of the fish” (verse 27). A prodigious tulabhara called the “elephant tulabhara” is also described in the Olugu. It is said that two boats of equal weight were floated in a river ghat and in one Sundara Pandya sat upon his huge state-elephant with all his weapons and in the other were poured gold, pearls and diamonds till the latter sank to the level of the former. This treasure was utilised in various temple benefactions. He is credited with the construction of the mantapa opposite the sanctum (the Gayatri mantapa). The gift of a golden image of Cerakulavalli is a new feature in the list furnished by the Olugu. It also says that he covered the walls, pillars and cornices of the two innermost enclosures with gold plates. Another gift not mentioned in the inscription but noticed by the Olugu is a golden flag staff in the Aniyarangan courtyard. As estimated by the Olugu, the total expenditure involved in these benefactions amounted to 36 lakhs of gold pieces (pons). From an inscription on a slab set up in the Manavala Mahamuni matha in the south Uttara street in Srirangam it is known that it was constructed by one Varataruvan Edattakai Alagiyan39 ( (Called after) ‘the boonbestowing Narasimha with the hand uplifted.’) alias Pallavarayan of Tunjalur in the reign of Jatavarman Sundara I. It was called Sundara Pandyan matha and was built for the welfare of Perumal Sundara Pandya.40 (99 of 193637, pt.II, para 39.) This Pandya officer (Pallavarayan of Tunjalur) is mentioned in the inscriptions of Maravarman Sundara Pandya II, Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I, Maravarman Kulasekhara I and Jatavarman Sundara Pandya II, covering a period from 1238 to 1287.41 (The vimana and the mantapa of the Nammalvar shrine at Kapila tirtham in Tirupati were constructed by the same Pallavarayan (Tirumalai Tirupati Devasthanam Epigraphical Report, p.77). Two inscriptions of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I on the walls of the Candana mantapa of the temple throw some light on its administrative organisation.42 (84 and 89 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 28.) Both are dated in the 10th year or the king (1261). One records a royal order issued to his officer Vanadaraya to appoint the Ariyar and the Ullurar to guard the

treasury (porkaval) of the temple from Avani in his 10th regnal year. The management of the temple, which was hitherto vested in one group (Kottu) of officials, was now extended to members of other groups also. The other deals with the same subject but is more informative. It purports to be an order issued at the request of the king by the God himself while seated with His consorts on the Bhupalarayan thorne (simhasana). It states that the administration of the temple was hitherto conducted by a body of ten persons belonging to the Kovanavar Kottu. The benefactions of the king are then recounted. Besides gilding the Sriranga vimana and the Sundara Pandyan madil (or wall) and gopura and making gifts of various articles and ornaments of gold and precious stones he is said to have constructed the adukkalaippuram or the kitchen halls and instituted a few services. The increase in the wealth of the temple necessitated closer supervision and consequently a change in the management, which was now entrusted to a body of ten, not exclusively of the Kovanavar as before, but two selected from the Kovanavar, two from Srirangamaraiyor, one from Todavattittuimaraiyor, two from Talaiyiduvar, one from Vasal-Ariyar and two from Arattamukkianukkar.43 (For an explanation of these terms see the chapter on the Administration of the Temple.) THE INSCRIPTIONS OF HOYSALA VIRA RAMANATHA IN THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE A series of inscriptions in the Srirangam temple ranging from 1256 to 1269 carry the regnal years of Hoysala Vira-Ramanatha. This shows that either the Hoysalas regained their position in the area of Srirangam and Kannanur after the brief but resplendent digvijaya of Jatavarman Sundara (1256-58) or that they were ruling as his subordinate allies. It is needless for us to go into the details of the political history of this period or try to reconcil the claims of the Pandya in his inscriptions with the province of the Hoysala records in this area. A record of Vira-Ramanatha dated in his 2nd regnal year (1256) refers to the gift of a garden to the temple by a horse dealer (Kudiraiccetti) of Malaimandalam (Malayala territory) called Nallur Tuppanayakkan. The gift was made over to Tiruvaravanai Niraindar, a Sripadamtangum Nambimar, along with a piece of land for his sustenance. The recipient was to supply daily two garlands to the temple.44 (67 of 1892; SII. IV.514) An inscription dated in the 3rd year of Ramanatha (1257) records the foundation of a Salai (Arogyasalai) in the procession path (tirunadai-maligai) to the west of the northern gopura in the fourth prakara of the temple. The donor, Cingadeva Singana Dandanayaka, is called a pradhani of Vira Ramanatha. He made an endowment of land situated in

Mummadisola Caturvedimangalam (Lalgudi Taluk) for the upkeep of the Salai. The arogyasala (or hospital) itself was entrusted to Garudavahana Pandita, styled the raksaka or protector of the donor.45 (80 of 1936-37; EI. XXIV. p.90) This Garudavahana is said to have composed a Prabandam called Rangaghosanai, which is not extant. The Koil Olugu, most probably deriving its information from this record, says that Gangaidevar Singam Dandanayakkar, the agent of Pratapacakravarti (a title of Vira-Ramanatha) constructed the Arogyasala and the procession path in the fourth enclosure of the temple.46 (KO.p.13.) The next inscription is dated in the 7th year of Ramanatha (1261).47 (74 of 1936-37) The Tiruppundurutti record of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya, dated 1258, suggests that in that year or the year before, the Srirangam temple had received his great gifts. Thus the gap, 1257 to 1261, in the records of Ramanatha is significant. This is a highly damaged record. It seems to register a gift of land for a flower garden by a member of the mint establishment community Kambattattu Anikkarar). The next is dated in his 8th year (1262) and it records a gift of land for a flower garden to the temple for the merit of Ramanatha’s queen Kamaladevi and her two daughters, Periyatangi Iraiyakkan and Viccanan.48 (62 of 1936-37.) Another record in the temple, also belonging to the 8th year of the king, registers a gift of gold by Sahala Bhatta, son of Ahala Bhatta of the Sakala gotra, who belonged to the community of Paradesi Savasi (Sahavasi) merchants, for offerings during one service in the temple and for supplying garlands to the God for the merit of the donor and his son. The donor was Brahmana engaged in trade.49 (70 of 1936-37; Pt.II, para 50.) The next is dated in his 12th year (1266).50 (57 of 1892; SII IV.504) This inscription opens with an enumeration of all the birudas of the dead Somesvara. In this year there was a peaceful visit to the Srirangam temple of the royal household, which included Ponnambala Mahadeviyar, the sister of Vira-Ramanatha and daughter of Somesvara by Devaladevi. She figures as the donor in this inscription. It records her gift of gardens to the temple. Out of their yields were to be supplied the provisions for the tiruvaradana, etc. of the Karthikai festival. Tirumanattun Nambi was to supply the garlands. An interesting record in the temple without date may be assigned to the 14th year of Ramanatha. This records the setting up of a Sarasvaribhandara or library in a mantapa erected for the purpose by Palappalli Nilakantha Nayakar, who also installed nearby the images of Sarasvatidevi, Vedavyasa Bhagavan and Hayagriva, the three presiding deities of learning. Money was also gifted for the provision of offerings to the deities.51 (139 of 1938-39; Pt.II, para 70.) This donor is known to have made an endowment in the 14th year of Vira-Ramanathadeva

(1268) to the neighbouring Jambukesvaram temple.52 (4 of 1937-38.) The library was probably housed in a portion of the mantapas, now occupied by the Madappalli in the 3rd prakara, where the inscription was found. The next record of Ramanatha in the temple is dated in his 15th year (1269).53 (52 of 1892; SII. IV.499.) This records the gift of a private person who calls himself Kariyamari Sakalavidyacakravartin to Ranganatha of four ornaments, viz., a golden vase (kalanji), a diamond crown (karanda makuta), and two fly-whisks (camaras) with golden handles, which he had previously received from Vira Pandya. The above inscriptions doubtless show that Vira-Ramanatha was a patron of the Srirangam temple. The Koil-Olugu enumerates the benefactions of a certain Kampaya Dandanayaka, a pradhani of Ramanathadeva, and of his brother Kariyamanikka Dandanayaka.54 (KO.p.20.) An inscription refers to the former as a maternal uncle of Singhana Dandanayaka, the builder of the Arogyasala in the temple.55 (SII. VIII.88.) Many important structures in the fourth and fifth enclosures like the thousand pillared mantapa, the shrines of Paravasudeva, Sudarsana Perumal and Lakshminarayana Perumal, the mantapa of the Nacciyar shrine etc., are attributed to these two brothers. THE SUCCESSORS OF JATAVARMAN SUNDARA PANDYA I AND THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE Maravarman Kulasekhara I (1268-1312), who succeeded Jatavarman Sundara I, defeated Cola Rajendra III and his ally Hoysala Ramanatha about 1279 and annexed their dominions. While the Cola kingdom ceased to exist Ramanatha seized some territory in the Kannada area from his brother and began to rule over it. Thus Srirangam, Kannanur and the adjoining areas passed definitely under the Pandyas. Ceylon was successfully invaded in 1280 by the Pandya general Aryacakravarti. The Srirangam temple contains a single inscription of Maravarman Kulasekhara dated in his 10th year (1278). The donor figuring in this epigraph is said to be Matitungan Tanininruvenra Perumal alias Ariyacakravarti of Cakravartinallur, who is probably the same as the Pandya general mentioned above.56 (7 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 40.) It records a gift of land by purchase for rearing flower gardens and offering garlands of God Ranganatha. In the last years of Maravarman Kulasekhara two princes were acting as his co-regents, a Jatavarman Sundara Pandya who began his rule in 1303 and a Jatavarman Vira Pandya, who ascended the throne in 1297. According to Wassaf “the elder named Sundar Pandi, was legitimate, his mother being

to Wassaf “the elder named Sundar Pandi, was legitimate, his mother being joined to the Dewar by lawful marriage, and the younger named Tira Pandi was illegitimate, his mother being one of the mistresses who continually attended the king in his banquet of pleasure.”57 (Dr.N.Venkataramanayya, The Early Muslim Expansion in South India, p.204.) The civil war between these two brothers was the chief point of interest to the Muslim chroniclers as it provided, according to them, the cause of Malik Kafur’s invasion of Ma’bar. It is, however, now clear that it was only a pretext. The two brothers seem to have ruled over different parts of the Pandya country, Vira Pandya till 1341 and Sundara Pandya till 1319 or 1320. We also have a (Maravarman) Kulasekhara (II) who began his reign in 1314. Two other princes Vikrama and Parakrama make the ‘Panca Pandyas’ or the “five crowned kings of the great province of Ma’oar”, referred to by Macro Polo. The distintegration must have produced disturbed conditions, but as has been frequently provided, the temples did not suffer and serious damage so long as the parties were Hindu monarchs. So far as Srirangam is concerned the prosperous state of the temple in which it was left by Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I continued undiminished. Numerous inscriptions ranging from 1307 to 1317 belonging to the temple give unusually elaborate details of the settlement of learned Brahmanas in newly formed agraharas. Nine inscriptions of Jatavarman Vira Pandya refer to the foundation of Kaliyugarama-caturvedimangalam.58 (42-50 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 42. ‘Kaliyugaraman’ was title of this Pandya king. It was also borne by a certain Maravarman Vira Pandya of acc.1420. See ARE 1938-39, pt.II para 35.) The Agaram or Agrahara (Brahmana village) was formed by one Kalingaraya, an officer of the king, in the kings name, in his 10th year (1307) by obtaining lands for house-sites from various sources. Some he purchased, some he obtained by exchange and some as gifts. A large part seems to have been purchased from the sabha of Vikramacola-caturvedimangalam. These lands were given over to Bhattas tax-free. The connection between the donees and the Srirangam temple is not mentioned. Obviously they were all learned in the Vedas, - Acaryas, who had something to do with the temple directly or indirectly. The sites could be sold to one another among themselves, but if it was found necessary to sell outside they should be sold to Bhaga vatas and to persons of the same darsana.59 (42 of 1936-37.) After the lands had been gifted away some were obtained back for forming a trunk-road (nattuperuvali), which ran through the colony, and to compensate the acquisition fresh tax-free lands were given to those that had parted with lands.60 (46 of 1936-37.) Four records mention Gomadattu Narayana Bhatta and his brother of Vikramacola-caturvedimangalam, who sold some lands and gifted some to Kalingaraya for the formation of the new

sold some lands and gifted some to Kalingaraya for the formation of the new colony, which is referred to, once, as Kalingarayar-agaram.61 (43, 44, 47 and 48 of 1936-37.) One inscription gives particulars about this Pandya officer, who formed the colony. He is referred to as Valaivisuvan Periyaperumal Kalingarayar of Kattikkuricci, a hamlet of Parantakanallur in Naduvilkurram, a subdivision of Milalaikurram in Pandimandalam.62 (45 of 1936-37. It may be mentioned that Kalingarayan, Kandiyadevan, Pattamanangattan and Ulagelam-venran were the birudas of Kaikkola and Devanga weavers.) Two records declare that while the God (of Srirangam) was seated on the Sundara Pandyan throne under the Sundara Pandyan pearl canopy in the abhisheka mantapa in the temple on the Kartigai festival day, a gift of 32 house sites was made to 32 Brahmanas settled in the Kaliyugarama Caturvedimangalam. These sites were purchased from the sabha of Vikramasola Caturvedimangalam and gifted by Kalingarayar. The gift was approved by the deity, who issued an order to that effect.63 (42 and 49 of 1936-37.) All these records belong to the 10th year of the king, viz., 1307. The last two are important as they refer to the throne and pearl canopy gifted to God Alagiyamanavalan by Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I and as they suggest that the new colony was meant for the habitation of about 32 learned Brahmanas. The Koil-Olugu says that Kaliyugaraman built the Tirumangai Alvar mutt and other mutts in the Citra street and its prakara wall.64 (KO.pp.22-23.) High up on each of the four door jambs of the big gopura in the middle of the East Citra street is found the label ‘Kaliyugaraman’ in grantha characters of the 13th century incised above a standing composite image of Gandabherunda, a human body surmounted by two birds’ heads facing opposite directions. 65 (98 of 1936-37) As the latter was the emblem of the Hoysalas and as it is known that the great gopura of seven storyes at Jambukesvaram was constructed by Somesvara66 (19 of 1891; para 42, pt.II of ARE 1936-37.) and as both the gopuras are alike in workmanship it may reasonably be stated that the are alike in workmanship it may reasonably be stated that the Kaliyugaraman gopura was first built or its construction started by a Hoysala king, Vira Narasimha or Somesvara, and it was heightened or repaired or completed by Jatavarman Vira Pandya surnamed Kaliyugaraman. It may also be noted that the figures of a pair of fish flanking an ankusa are sculptured in relief on two of the ceiling beams of this gopura. The same Pandya symbols are found sculptured in relief on the two main ceiling beams of the seven-storeyed eastern gopura of the Jambukesvaram temple attributed to Hoysala Somesvara.67 (19 of 1891, para 48 of ARE 1936-37.) It is interesting to note that these two gopuras, one in the Vaisnava temple at Srirangam and the other in the Saiva temple

one in the Vaisnava temple at Srirangam and the other in the Saiva temple at Jambukesvaram owed their existence to Hoysala Pandya collaboration, though at different times.68 (The Government Epigraphist in the Report for 1936-37 (pt.II, para 48) thinks that the Pandya collaborator in this case was probably Maravar man Sundara Pandya I. (acc.1216) as 19 of 1891 indicates that Somesvara completed the construction of the gopura, meaning there by that he built the upper talas.)

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Events of Today

Chapter 6


THE PERIOD OF THE MUSLIM INVASIONS AND THE SACK OF THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE 1311-1323 The chief points to be dealt with in this chapter would be the sack of the Srirangam temple in 1311 on the occasion of the invasion of Ma’bar by Malik Kafur, and in 1323 in the course of the invasion of the same territory by Ulugh Khan. The first happened during the reign of Alauddin Khilji and the second during that of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlak. The first was a mere raid and did not seriously affect the religious life of Srirangam. When the raiders withdrew a new image was installed and routine worship was revived. The second sack had different effects. As the object was empire (???) and not mere plunder Ma’bar was occupied and converted into a province of the Delhi Sultanate. The temple was occupied by the Muslim solidiery and used as a fort for a time, after which, it would appear they were persuaded to abanded the temple and occupy the fortress of Kannanur. The temple was restored only in 1371 by the generals of Vijayanagar. The rulers of the region were the Pandya princes. The Srirangam temple contains inscriptions of Sundara Pandya (acc.1303) and Maravarman Kulasekhara (acc.1314) extending over the period 1313-19. They deal with the foundation of Kodandarama-caturvedimangalam in Srirangam. The mutual rivalries among the Pandya princes invited the intervention of the neighbouring Ravivarman Kulasekhara, the Cera. We have the inscriptions of this king in the Srirangam temple ranging from 1312 to 1315. These register his settlement of Brahmanas in yet another colony in his own name in Srirangam, viz., Ravivarma-caturvedimangalam. Towards the end of the chapter is given an account of the Vaisnava Acaryas, who both administered the darsana and controlled the temple of Srirangam. This covers the period from Bhattar (the successor of Ramanuja) to Vedantadesika, roughly from 1150 to 1324. Malik Kafur’s Raid, 1311 After reducing the double walled fort of Warrangal in February 1310 and after seizing its buried treasures Malik Kafur returned to Delhi. Immediately he turned back to lead his devastating expeditions against

Dwarasamudra and Madura which lay farther south. Hoysala Ballala III pocketed his pride and surrendered to the invader without fighting. He also suffered the indignity of being forced by Kafur to guide his army into Ma’bar, the country of the Pandya, through secret passages without exciting the suspicion of its ruler or his subjects. To the Muslim historians the Tamil country was known as, Ma’bar (meaning in arabic ‘passage’ or ‘ferry’ and to foreign travelers like Marco Polo signified the coastline with it shinter land in South India, extending, from ‘Kulam (Quilon) to Nilawar (Nellore)’. The frontiers of Ma’bar were reached by the armies of Malik Kafur on the 15 March 1311. In Ma’bar things did not happen as he would have liked. The Pandya chieftains, under the command of Vira Pandya took to guerilla tactics. There were no pitched battles, no sieges of forts and Kafur could not capture Vira Pandya and impose on him his usual humiliating conditions. This caused no small irritation to Kafur and he spent his wrath on the ancient and glorious temples of South India by giving full reins to his iconoclastic zeal. The route taken by Malik Kafur from Dwarasamudra is thus described by Amir Khusru (Tarik-I-Alai): “On Wednesday, the 18th of Shawwal, the Malik beat his drums, and loaded his camels for his expedition to Ma’bar from Dhur-Samundar. In this range there are two passes - one Sarmali (also Tarmali) and the other Tabar. After traversing the passes they arrived at night on the banks of the river Kanobari (also Kanauri i.e., Kaveri) and bivouacked on the sands. Thence they departed for Birdhul, and committed massacre and devastated all around it. The Rai Bir showed an intent of flying for security to his islands in the ocean, but as he was not able to attempt this, his attendants counselled him to fly by land. With a small amount of treasure and property, he deserted the city and fled to Kandur, and even there he dared not remain, but again fled to the jungles.”1 (Elliot and Dowson. III, p.9.) Of the two passes mentioned Tabar refers to the famous Toppur ghats between Dharmapuri and Omalur in the Salem district.2 (Dr.S.Krishnaswamy Aiyangar, South India and her Muhammadan Invaders, p.103) It was at this point that Malik Kafur crossed into the Tamil country from Mysore. On the 5th Zi-ul-Qa’da (26th March 1311) the army made a dash in a north eastern direction straight to Birdhul (also called Pattan or Fattan), which has been identified with Vira-Dhavalapattanam on the coast in the Tindivanam Taluk of the South Arcot district, the same as Markanam of today.3 (Dr.N.Venkataramanayya Early Muslim Expansion in South India, (pp.46-7); see also his article on ‘Birth-Dhul’ in JAHARS. XIII.1-5. It is to be noted that a Srirangam epigraph (79 of 1938-39)

refers to the enthronement of Sundara Pandya at Vira-Dhavalam. 319 or 1929-20 refers to Vira-Dhavalam in Uraiyurkurram, a subdivision of Tenkarai Raja Gambhira-valanadu (ARE 1938-39, pt.II, para 8) Kandur is undoubtedly Kannanur (Khandanapura of the Sanskrit writers). Isamy refers to it as Kupan (Kuppam i.e., Kannanur-koppam). Malik kafur pursued the fugitive monarch to Kannanur but was sorely distressed by a constant downpour of rain which caused great discomfort to the Muslim soldiery. “The water rendered the bows ineffective…..; it got in between the arrow and its (iron) point and separated them from one another; it also whispered something into the ‘ears’ of the bows and untwisted their strings.”4 (Khusru: Khaza ‘in-ul-Futuh’, JIH, IX, p.90.) Despite the rains Kafur continued his march in search of Vira Pandya. Ultimately after a dreary and disconsolate march Kafur reached Kannanur and reduced the fortress after a fierce struggle. But even here, the Pandya eluded him. He had escaped. After fruitless searches in impenetrable forests the army of Malik Kafur returned to Kandur. “Here”, continues Amir Khusru, “he (Kafur) heared that in Brahmastpuri there was a golden idol, round which many elephants were stabled. The Malik started on a night expedition against this place and in the morning seized no less than 250 elephants.”5 (Elliot and Dowson III, p.90.) Now what is Brahmastpuri? Dr.N.Venkataramanayya has shown that Brahmastpuri of Elliot was a corruption of Barmatpuri, which in its turn was a corruption of Marhatpuri and has said that Marhatpuri is identical with Marakatanagari mentioned in Gangadevi’s Maduravijayam, and this was perhaps another name for Kanci.6 (Jahars III, pp.112.) According to Dr.S.Krishnaswami Ayyangar Markatanagari was Virinchipuram,7 (Dr.S.K.Ayyangar Sources of Vijayanagar History, p.23.) near Vellore. At this place, according to the Maduravijayam Kumara Kampana is said to have spent the rainy and winter seasons before advancing against the Sultan of Madurai. The poem itself does not furnish a definite clue for its identification. The statement of Amir Khusru, however, that at Kannanur Malik Kafur heard of the golden temple (Marhatpuri is very often referred to as the golden temple by Amir Khusru and Isamy) and reached it after a night expedition raises the doubt whether Marhatpuri was not Srirangam. If so the object of the night march over a distance of five miles south from Kannanur to Srirangam was obviously to take the golden temple by surprise. The golden idol referred to might very well have been that of Hemaccadanaraja - Hari, “which consisted of gold to the tips of its nails”, set up by Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I in the Srirangam temple. Only fifty years ago this Pandya had filled the temple with the richest gifts and

rendered it literally golden. The vimanas of the main shrine and those of Narasimha and Visvaksena were covered with gold. In connection with these and other benefactions he assumed the significant title “he who covered the Srirangam temple with gold (Koil-ponmeindaruliya)”. It is possible that in the days of Malik Kafur Srirangam had become widely known as the ‘golden temple’. On these grounds it may reasonably be suggested that Marhatpuri or the golden temple of the Muslim historians was Srirangam. That Marhatpuri was the Muslim writers’ name for Marakatanagari is undoubtedly a specious argument. Here the following point may be considered. One of the Pandya’s luxurious gifts to the God Ranganatha was a garland of emeralds taken from the treasure of the Kadava chief of Sendamangalam, whom he vanquished in battle. In connection with this gift he assumed the title Marakataprithvibhrit (the emerald king).8 (See above under the Caption Sundara Jatavarma Pandya I and the Srirangam Temple in Ch; V.) Is it not probable that this gift also gave its name to Srirangam which came to be called hence ‘Marakatanagari’ (emerald city), perhaps for a brief period? The destruction of the golden temple is thus described in the TarikhI-Alai “He (Kafur) then determined on razing the beautiful temple to the ground. You might say that it was the Paradise of Shaddad, which after being lost, those “hellites’ had found, and that it was the Golden Lanka of Ram - in short, it was the holy place of the Hindu, which the Malik dug up from its foundations with great care and the heads of the Brahmans and idolaters danced from their necks and fell to the ground at their feet, and blood flowed in torrents. The stone idols called Ling Mahadeo, which had been a long time established at that place, up to this time the kick of the horse of Islam had not attempted to break. The Musalmans destroyed all the Lings, and Deo Narain fell down, and the other gods who had fixed their seats there raised their feet, and jumped so high, that at one leap they reached the fort of Langa, and in that affright on. Much gold and many valuable jewels fell into the hands of the Musalmans, who returned to the royal canopy, after executing their holy project, on the 13th Zi-l-ka’ da A.H.710 (April 1311)”. This account, no doubt, is a fanciful and exaggerated one Dr.S.Krishnaswamy Ayyangar, who first attempted an identification of Marhatpuri with Srirangam later on rejected it on the plea that Srirangam was purely a Vaisnava shrine while both Ling Mahadeo and Deo Narain are mentioned in the above account and was inclined to associate the temple looted with that at Cidambaram, which contained both Saiva and Vaisnava shrines. This, however, is wrong because the Govindaraja shrine had ceased to exist at this time in Cidambaram.9 (Dr.S.K.Ayyangar, South India and her Muhammadan invaders, pp.108-9; the Govindaraja shrine,

desecrated by Kulottunga II was restored during the late Vijayanagar period.) Even crediting Amir Khusru with a fine sense of distinction between Saiva and Vaisnava shrines, still we cannot ignore the supposition that Malik Kafur, who came as far as Kannanur and Srirangam could have hardly missed the Saiva temple of Jambukesvaram within a stone’s throw of the Vaisnava temple of Srirangam.

The Koil-Olugu’s account
The Koil-Olugu recognises clearly two Muslim advances upon Srirangam distinct from each other. On each occasion the procession image of Ranganatha, viz., Alagiyamanavalan, was removed from the temple, and the fortunes of the temple parijanas or servants fleeting with the sacred idol, in each case are traced in considerable detail. Two distinct restorations by two different persons are mentioned. The account of the first sack of the temple opens with the statement that ‘Dillisvaran (the king of Delhi), having defeated Prataparudra in battle, invaded Tondaimandalam and solamandalam’ A general destruction of temples and plunder of its valuable idols followed. The Muslims entered the Srirangam temple through the northern Aryabhattal gateway (i.e., the northern gateway of the third enclosure). The resistance of the Brahmanas was easily overcome, the treasury, the store-house, etc., were plundered and images of Alagiyamanavalan, Cerakulavalli and other gods and goddesses were taken away. The loot must have included the gold image of Visnu, a benefaction of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I. An interesting episode, which cannot stand the test of historical criticism, is cleverly woven round the loss and restoration of the image of Alagiyamanavalan. A woman of Karambanur, near Srirangam, it is said, observed the vow of taking her food only after worshipping the God of Srirangam. When that God was snatched away by the Muslims she followed their armies upto Delhi and entered the Sultan’s palace in disguise. There she found that a daughter of the Sultan - Sultani - had taken a fancy for the Ranganatha idol and was keeping it with herself. The woman of Karambanur quickly returned to Srirangam and informed the Stalattar of the whereabouts of the image and earned for herself the name of ‘Pincenravalli, i.e., ‘she who followed (the God)’. The Stalattar of the temple buried the image of Sriranga Nacciyar beneath the bilva tree near Her shrine, closed the doors of the temple and under their orders sixty parijanas of the temple followed the lead of Pincenravalli to Delhi. There they saw how “Alagiyamanavalan was capriciously playing with the Sultani in the form of an

idol during the day time and in His Vibhava manifestation in the night, in all splendour ….. With the temple singer in the fore they attracted the pleasure of the monarch of Delhi by means of their song and dance. The king was much pleased and offered them enormous treasure, but the singer, refusing it, requested him to give him the image of Alagiyamanavalan. The king ordered his servants to allow the temple parivaras to take the idol they wanted from the store house. But on searching the store house they missed the Perumal and felt sorely vexed. On hearing from Pincenravalli, they said to the king, “Our Perumal is in the possession of your daughter,” to which the king replied, “call back your god if you can”. Consequently, when the temple singer invoked Alagiyamanavala Perumal in intense and divine melody, the god brought sleep to the girl and started. When the singer informed the Sultan about this, he with wonder, allowed the parivaras to take back their God. Immediately they took the Perumal and, on that very night, rapidly covered a distance of 8 miles”.10 (KO., p.26.) The Sultani, who could not bear separation from her favourite idol urged her father to send an army behind the parijanas to recover it and bring it back to her. Accordingly an army of search was dispatched from Delhi, three days after an advance party had left, to pursue the fleeing temple servants, and the princes accompanied this army. News reached the parijanas, as they were approaching Chandragiri, that they were being pursued. At once they dispersed themselves, and three of them, belonging to that class of templeservants called the Kodavar, and who were related to each other as uncle, (his) brother-in-law and nephew, were entrusted with the sacred idol. These three ascended the slopes of the Vengadam hills and concealed the idol in a lonely glen hidden amidst thick jungles. The Muslim search party missed the Perumal on its way and finally it reached Srirangam. The temple was deserted and the gateway to the main shrine was barred by a stone slab. It was reported that the Perumal had not yet arrived. The Sultani, “whose life was sustained solely by the hope of seeing the Perumal”, died in Srirangam. The theme developed is one of intense love of the Muslim princess for the Hindu God. In the meanwhile the Stalattar of Srirangam grew tired of waiting for the return of the Perumal. At last they made and consecrated fresh images of the God and Goddess and renewed worship as of old. A fresh image of the Nacciyar was also found necessary because the original image of the Goddess, which was buried beneath the bilva tree outside Her shrine, when the temple was deserted, was sorely missed when the Stalattar thought of reinstalling it and explored the place.

The Muslim armies, on their way back to Delhi, “reached Tirupati and heard that the Perumal had gone up the hills. From the foot of the hills they deputed many men to make an extensive search for the Perumal. Not finding a secret place, in that region, where they could safely keep the Perumal concealed, the Kodavar thought of a plan. Placing his brother-in-law and nephew on the top the hill, the uncle tied himself to the Perumal with the help of roots and herbs and asked the two on the top to let him down into a declivity by means of a creeper fastened to a promontory of the mountain, jutting out like the hood of a serpent. In course of time his body perished ….. The brother-in-law and the nephew got down the slope with the help of plants and creepers, worshipped the Perumal, cremated the body of the dead uncle, and remained unknown on the slopes to the north of Alarmelmangaipuram, (Mangapuram, near Chandragiri). The brother-in-law too died, in course of time The newphew, however, remained unseen, with the Perumal, for a long time, living on roots and fruits.”11 (KO.pp.27-8. It is likely that the cave at Tumburukona, at an elevation of 2250’, is the one referred to by the Olugu, (T.K.T.Viraraghavacharya, History of Tirupati, Vol.1, pp.10-11 (T.T.Devasthanams, Tirupati, 1953.) The period of the exile of the Perumal is said to be “fifty-nine-anda-half years, of which two years were spent in the palace of the Sultan.”12 (Ibid., pp.28-29) At the end of this period the nephew, now an old man of 80, was found by two Irulas or hunters, whom he requested to make arrangements for the removal of the image to Srirangam. This news reached the chieftain of the neighbouring Candragiri and with his help the old Kodavar reached Srirangam with the image of Alagiyamanavalan. The inhabitants of Srirangam, however, had forgotten everything about the Muslim invasion and the exile of the original image with the result that the poor Kodavar, who had guarded the image for 58 years, was refused admission into the temple and the image in his possession was not recognised Mysteriously enough the crown of the image of Sriranga Nacciyar became visible, beneath the bilva tree, on the day after the arrival of the Kodavar and the Perumal. This was entirely missed when it was searched during the restoration. The Parijanas of the temple were greatly surprised something to do with the newly arrived image. They took the matter to the king, who is called Rajendra Cola. This Cola visited the temple and with a view to ascertain the truth of the Kodavar’s story instituted a search for octogenarians in Srirangam and came across a 93 years old washerman, who was blind. He identified the image with the Kodavar as the original one by taking in the Iravadai tirtam (wet cloth tirtham) of both the Perumal (i.e., the original and the substitute). He exclaimed in joy, “It is He, Our Perumal. (Nam Perumal) Alagiyamanavalan!”

exclaimed in joy, “It is He, Our Perumal. (Nam Perumal) Alagiyamanavalan!” To him the identification was possible because he had served the original Perumal as His washerman. Thus convinced the Cola reinstalled the original images of the Perumal and the Nacciyar and also erected a shrine for the Sultani, who had shown great devotion to the God, in the north-western corner of the raised ‘procession path’ in the second (Rajamahendran) enclosure. In this shrine an image of the princess was painted on the wall and consecrated. He also made arrangements for the daily offering of wheat-bread, etc., appropriate to a Muslim princess, who became a Hindu deity, under the name of Bibi Nacciyar or Sandu Nacciyar, and endowed two villages in Koranadu for her. The Olugu ends up this account by saying that all these details had been inscribed on the Sandu Nacciyar shrine and that they were destroyed when the Citra mantapa was reconstructed.13 (Ibid., p.32.) From the mention of Rajendra Cola we can easily judge that no inscription of the type stated above could ever have existed. We know that the reign of Rajendra III, the last of the Colas, after whom there was not even a ghost of the Cola Kingdom, came to an end in 1279, and it is a sheet impossibility to connect a reigning Cola king with a date so far removed as say 1371 (i.e., 60 years after the flight of the Perumal). The period of an exile of 60 years, at the end of which the new generation in Srirangam did not believe the story of exile related by the old Kodavar, furnishes the clue. The final restoration and reconsecration of the Ranganatha image according to Gopanarya’s inscription in the Srirangam temple took place in 1371. The raid which is said to have occurred 60 years earlier brings us to Malik Kafur'’ invasion. In a different context the Olugu deals elaborately with the second sack of the temple (1323) and the restoration effected by the generals of Vijayanagar. Obviously the chronicler has given two different accounts of one and the same restoration, i.e., the one effected in 1371. Whatever might be the truth of the story of Pincenravalli and the Sultani, who fell in love with the divine image, the shrine of Bibi Nacciyar or Tulukka Nacciyar in the Srirangam temple is a standing testimony to this tradition.14 (Apart from the Olugu this tradition is preserved in a Telugu folk-song called the ‘Suratani-Kalyanamu’.) This is also common to a few other Vaisnava temples of South India that had suffered at the hands of the Muslims. The mention of an inscription of Rajendra Cola assignable to a date, say, 1371 clearly stamps the account in the Olugu as unhistorical. It is clearly a piece of legend, grown up in a later day, around memories of the Muslim invasions and sack of Srirangam, and is of considerable interest to a student of folk-lore. Epigraphy furnishes no details of the Bibi Nacciyar

shrine and it is not known when it was constructed. We also do not know which came first, the legend or the shrine. Like the stories of Euhemerus, the Sicilian author of the 4th century BC, the legend of Bibi Nacciyar might have come first and this was perhaps, in course of time, crystallised into a shrine.

The Inscriptions of Ravivarman Kulasekhara and Sundara Pandya (acc.1303) in the Srirangam temple: 1312-16.
It is well known that Malik Kafur’s Ma’bari expedition was, from the beginning to the end, a political failure; for not only did he not succeed in defeating and taking captive the crowned king of Ma’bar, viz., the Pandya, but he actually suffered a defeat at the hands of his enemies. The hero, who rose to the occasion was Vikrama, the brother of Maravarman Kulasekhara II (acc.1268). He defeated Kafur in a battle and the latter retired for good, taking with him the booty that he had plundered in the course of his vandalistic march. This victory, however, did not improve the position of the Pandyas, whose feuds continued as of old. So far at the Srirangam temple was concerned pujas and festivals were once again started and celebrated with the help of the substitute utsava-bera of Ranganatha called by the Koil-Olugu Tiruvaranga-maligaiyar, i.e., the God of the Srirangam temple. The dominant figure on the stage of South Indian politics after Malik Kafur’s invasion was Ravivarman Kulasekhara alias Sangramadhira. From his Kanci and Srirangam epigraphs we know that he was born in S.1188 (A.D.1266), that he married a Pandya princess, became supreme over Kerala when he was 33 years old (1299), defeated Vira Pandya and extended his sway over the Pandya and Cola countries, and crowned himself king on the banks of the Vegavati, flowing near Kanci, in his 46th year (1312).15 (EI. IV pp.145, 148.) In that same year and later (1312-16) we find him active in Srirangam making rich gifts to Ranganatha, his tutelary deity, and we also find inscriptions of Sundara Pandya (acc.1303) of the same period (1312-15) in the Srirangam temple, which show that the relationship between these two in this period was one of friendship. An inscription in the Srirangam temple of the 9th year of Perumal Sundara Pandya (1312) registers that on the representation made by several persons Ravivarman Kulasekhara, called here Venattadigal, (the king of Venad) made a gift of sites, after purchase, to the temple of Ravinarayana Perumal and to several bhattas colonising the village Ravivarma-Caturvedimangalam newly founded by him. Since Ravivarman figures in this inscription only as donor and

not as king it has to be supposed that his visit to Srirangam on this occasion, was perhaps on the eve of his coronation at Kanci the same year.16 (40 of 1936-37.) We have three Tamil records of Ravivarman Kulasekhara in the Srirangam temple. In these he assumes the familiar Cola and Pandya titles Tribhuvanacakravartin and Konerimaikondan. As king he is seen making further gifts to his colony in Srirangam and endowments to the temple of Ravinarayana Perumal consecrated therein by him. Of the three records one is dated in his 3rd year (1315.) 17 (39 of 1936-37.) It records a tax-free gift of 25 velis of land in the village of Todaiyur, Nattunangudi and Malavanur on the northern bank of the Kaveri (Vadakarai Rajarajavalanadu) for the Caturvedimangalam and the temple. Another is dated in his 4th year (1316.)18 (37 of 1936-37.) It registers a remission of taxes on 5 velis of lands granted to the bhattas of RavivarmaCaturvedimangalam. In this epigraph it is stated that the agrahara and the temple therein were founded in the 3rd year of the king (1315). This means that he had purchased the sites and bestowed them upon the bhattas and made other arrangements for the formation of a colony in his name in 1312 under the authority of Sundara Pandya and that the agrahara and the temple received official recognition only in 1315 when he was king. The other inscription, also dated in his 4th year, says that the order (terippu) communicating the royal sanction to the gift mentioned in the above epigraph was issued while the king was camping at Kannanur.19 (38 of 1936-37.) The Sanskrit inscription of Ravivarman Kulasekhara in the Srirangam temple may be assigned to 1315-16, during which year he seems to have stayed in Srirangam, where he is said to have made “an abode of the God” and to have given “a delightful residence” to the God.20 (46 of 1891; EI. IV.; p.148) Obviously this refers to the foundation of the Ravivarma Caturvedimangalam and the consecration of Ravinarayana Perumal therein. He is also said to have performed a dipotsava for Ranganatha and to have provided for the distribution of 100 panas each to 50 learned men every year on the asterism Satabisaj. The following are the inscriptions in the Srirangam temple of Sundara Pandya (acc.1303) and Maravarman Kulasekhara II (acc.1314) dealing with the foundation in Srirangam of yet another agrahara. In his 10th year (1313) we find Sundara Pandya actively engaged in the foundation of an agrahara and shrine in his own name. The inscription dated in his 10th year registers tax free gifts of 670 ma of land to several bhattas and others colonising the agrahara called Kodandarama-Caturvedimangalam newly founded in the name of the king in Tiruvarangam Tirupati, a subdivision of Padikulapativalanadu, on the southern bank (of the Kaveri)s and a further

Padikulapativalanadu, on the southern bank (of the Kaveri)s and a further gift of 30 ma of land for offerings and worship to God Laksminarayana Perumal consecrated in that colony.21 (18 of 1936-37, pt.II, para 43; see also ARE 1918, Pt.II, para 50. 1 ma = 100 kulis = 1/20th of a veli (one veli approximating to 6.74 acres). ‘Kodandarama’ was a well known title of this Pandya king.) An inscription dated in his 11th year (1314) records a gift of land to the sabha of Jagadekavira Caturvedimangalam in exchange for 3 velis of land required for the temple of Kodandaramacaturvedimangalam.22 (29 of 1936-37.) Next year, i.e., according to the inscription of the king dated in his 12th year (1315) and engraved in continuation of the inscription of his 10th year mentioned above; the king made another tax-free gift of 106 ma of land in the same agaram to the bhattas and to God Kodandarama Perumal (perhaps the same as Laksminarayana Perumal, now called after the king’s surname.23 (19 of 1936-37.) Two more records of the king dated in the same year, register further gifts of land to the bhattas of the colony and the God, Kodandarama perumal.24 (20 and 21 of 1936-37.) When the bhattas of the new colony purchased some lands on their own account they were also made tax free.25 (22 of 1936-37.) The inscriptions in the Srirangam temple of Maravarman Kulasekhara II (acc.1314), one of which is dated in his 3rd year (1317), refer to further acquisition of lands by the bhattas of KodandaramaCaturvedimangalam by purchase. It is interesting to note that two shrines of the Srirangam temple sold their own lands to the bhattas of the new colony. Two records register the sale of garden lands to these bhattas by the officials of the Eduttakai Alagiya-Nainar shrine and the Sriranga Nacciyar shrine.26 (23 and 26 of 1936-37.) Among individuals who sold garden lands to the colonists were Srivaikuntadasar of Tirumeyam, Piraguvali Nittan alias Koilponmeinda Perumal-dasa; Arulalapperumal alias Piraguvali Alagiyaperumaal-dasa and Karumanikkal van alias Anukkavillidase, the last three dasas being the dasanambis of Tiruvarangam Tirupati.27 (24, 25, 27 and 28 of 1936-37.) A set of two inscriptions in this series are dated in the 5th year of Kulasekhara (1319) and furnish important details of the location of the colony, the number of the colonists and the name of Pandya officer, who founded the colony.28 (115 and 116 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 33.) They purport to be an order issued by God Ranganatha assigning the food offered to the God during the two services Ponmeyndan-sandi and Kodandaraman-sandi to the 48 bhattas of Kodandaramacaturvedi-mangalam round the Vellaimurram mantapa near the Ellaikkarai, founded by Karumanikkalvan of Pandimandalam. The second record, amplifying the first, states that the agrahara was formed for the welfare of Perumal Sundara

states that the agrahara was formed for the welfare of Perumal Sundara Pandya and also makes reference to the two services, one as a recent institution (Kodandaraman-sandi) and the other as an earlier one. It also gives details regarding the concessions granted to the bhattas in the distribution of the offerings referred to above. The foundation of agraharas by kings in Srirangam by making gifts of lands and house-sites to bhattas or learned Brahmanas, who probably had their services in the great Vaisrava temple, immediately before and after Malik Kafur’s raid shows, as suggested earlier, that the prosperity of the temple, testified to by the inscription of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I, continued unabated in spite of the political vicissitudes that followed his glorious reign. The temple was expanding in size and activity and was attracting more and more devotees, in general, and Srivaisnavas, in particular, who sought service in general, and Srivaisnavas, in particular, who sought service in the temple. The foundation of new Brahmana colonies in the temple town at the initiative of pious kings was clearly a symbol of this growth. During the interval between Malik Kafur’s raid (1311) and the expedition of Ulugh Khan (1323) the political conditions of Ma’bar remained unchanged. The civil war between Sundara Pandya and Vira Pandya continued. An army of Hoysala Ballala III came to the help of Vira Pandya and was defeated (1318). Sundara Pandya himself had been defeated by Ravivarman Kulasekhara in a battle (c.1316) and the Kerala ruler was triumphantly ruling from Kanci but his own success was short-lived. An inscription in the Srirangam temple of Kakatiya Prataparudra, dated S.1239 (A.D.1317) states that his commander Devari Nayaka, son of Macya Nayaka, marched with an army to the south against the Panca Pandyas, defeated Vira Pandya and the Malayala-Tiruvadi Kulasekhara at Tiruvadikundram and established Sundara Pandya at Vira Dhavalam in Uraiyur-Kurtam. The last two lines of this record are highly damaged and suggest some sarvamanya (rent-free) gift (of land), evidently to God Ranganatha, details of which are lost.29 (79 of 1938-39; pt.II para 8. Devari Nayudu or Nayaningaru was a general of Muppidi Nayaka.) The Koil-Olugu makes mention of a few structures of the shrine of Eduttakai Alagiya Nainar in the Srirangam temple as the benefactions of a Cera, king of the Malayala country, most probably Ravivarman Kulasekhara.30 (KO p.21.)

Ulugh Khan’s expedition (1323) and the second sack of the Srirangam temple.

Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlak (1320-25) realised the futility of seeking to maintain the allegiance of distant provinces by occasional military raids, and decided not only to conquer the entire peninsula of South India but to impose over every part of it effective military and administrative control. He made Ulugh Khan, his eldest son and heir to the throne, the commander of an expeditionary force, which first put down a rebellion in Maharastra and then marched upon Warangal. The attack on Warangal failed (1321). Next year another expedition was organised and Prataparudra, who did not expect it, was surprised and defeated. Warangal fell. In 1323 Ulugh Khan marched against Ma’bar. The Maduraittalavaralaru and the Madurai-stanikar-varalaru mention Ani of Rudhirodgari as the month and year of the Muslim invasion (June 1323), though they furnish wrong saka dates, viz., S.1246, Aksaya as the year of the Muslim invasion. Aksaya corresponds to Saka 1248 and not 1249. The Sriranga Narayana Jiyar Guruparamparai gives the correct date for this invasion, viz., S.1245 (A.D.1323). An important event in the history of Vaisnavism as maintained by the Vaisnava tradition is the Muslim sack of Srirangam and the consequent perigrinations of the Ranganatha image. All the Vaisnava hagiologies refer to the Muslim occupation of the Srirangam temple, the Guruparamparai (Vadakalai and Tenkalai versions), the Prapannamritam, the Telugu hagiology, viz., Acaryasukti Muktavali and the Koil-Olugu give interesting details of the invasion, which is referred to in connection with the lives of Pillai Lokacarya and Vedantadesika. From the dates given by these hagiologies to these Acaryas it could be ascertained that the invasion referred to by them was that undertaken in 1323. The Koil-Olugu gives the following account of Srirangaraja Nathan Vaduladesika, who was in charge of the Srikaryam of the Srirangam temple at the time of the Muslim invasion. “Subsequent to the collapse of the Cola kingdom Pancatiruvadi Muttukrishnaraja became king, and under his patronage Iyan Ramanujacaryar, a Vaduladesika, gloriously conducted the affairs of the temple. His son was Tirukkopurattu Nainar, who was in-charge of the Srikaryam for a long time during the reign of Narasimharaja. The second son of Tirukkopurattu Nainar, by name Siddhannar, succeeded to the seat of Vaduladesika and conducted various festivities for the God under the patronage of Pancatiruvadi Kesavaraja. The son and successor of Siddhannar was Srirangarajanathan Vaduladesika, of much wisdom and devotion, who contributed largely to the expansion of ‘Srirangasri, under the patronage of Pancatiruvadi Virapparaja. For a long time he was childless and ultimately, due to devine favour, a son was born to him. This was in Saka 1249,

Aksaya, when it was said that the Muslims had occupied Tondaimandalam.”31 (KO.125-27) It is possible that a descendant of Mudaliyandan, with the title of Vaduladesika, was in charge of the Srikaryam of the temple in the days of the Muslim invasion, but the names of his and his forefathers’ patrons, which clearly recall the names of the Nayak kings or their feudatories, have to be given up as groundless.32 (It is clear that this part of the Olugu was written or rewritten or added during or after the period of the Nayaks.) The narrative that follows is found in all the hagiologies mentioned above. When the news of the coming of the Muslims reached Srirangam a festival was being conducted in the course of which the procession image of Ranganatha (Alagiyamanavalam) was taken to the shrine of Varahamurti (Panriyalvan) on the banks of the Coleroon, a little away from the main temple of Srirangam. A lot was cast to ascertain whether the God willed to stay where He was or betake himself to a place of safety. The God preferred to remain where He was. Hence the festival was continued. Before long news was brought that the Muslims were advancing past Kannanur or Samayapuram. Srirangarajanathan Vaduladesika realised that no time was to be lost and, commanding the 12,000 ascetics, who had assembled in Tiruvolakkam (Congregation of hymnists), no to disperse he sent away secretly the procession image of Ranganatha in a tiny palanquin in a southern direction under the guidance of Pillai Lokacarya and a few parijanas. He rushed to Srirangam and despatched similarly the image of Sriranga Nacciyar and few boxes of treasure and jewels under a few attendants probably in the rear of the first party of flight. He locked the doors of the sanctum, barred the doorways of the shrines of both the god and the goddess with stones and placed pseudo-images in the mantapas opposite and then proceeded to the shrine of Panviyavlan.33 (Two mula beras are found in the Nacciyar shrine. It is possible that one is the image that was walled up during the raid.) By this time the invaders had reached the spot and desecrated that shrine. The Koil-Olugu says that the 12,000 ascetics were killed, and refers to this incident as the Panriyalvan-tirumottu mahakalatham (The invasion of Panriyalvan Tirumedu) and Pannirayiramtirumudi-tiruttinakalabham (the invasion which took 12,000 heads). Vedantadesika, who was in Srirangam at this time, managed to escape with the two little sons of Sudarsana Bhatta, the author of the Srutaprakasika, and a single manuscript of his famous commentary on Ramanuja’s Sribhasya and betake himself through forests to the distant Satyamangalam on the border of Mysore.34 (The Koil-Olugu which deals with an accredited Tenkalai Vaisnava temple, omits all mention of Vedantadesika, who has come to be the head of

temple, omits all mention of Vedantadesika, who has come to be the head of the Vadakalai sect. The Prapannamritam, e.g., says that Lokacarya and others took the sacred idols and escaped by way of Gostipura, under the direction of Vedantadesika, who walled up the garbagriha and himself prepared to escape. There is also a tradition that in the moment of peril he saved himself by hiding beneath a mass of dead bodies.) The Muslim chief proceeded to the Srirangam temple and occupied it. The wanderings of the Ranganatha image are sketched in great detail in the Koil-Olugu and other works. The travels of the image from Srirangam and back involved a big journey in a circle comprising the whole of South India and this was perhaps undertaken with the avowed intention of avoiding the interior districts, which were being over-run by the invaders. The route adopted by the fugitives is easily told. Leaving Srirangam they proceeded due South and passing through the former Pudukottah state reached Gostipura or Tirukkottiyur, 7 miles south of Tiruppattur in the Ramnad district. From Gostipura they came further south to Jyotiskudi, which has been identified with Jyotismatipura or Kalaiyarkoil in the same district.35 (Dr.S.Krishnaswami Ayyangar, South India and her Muhammadan invaders, pp.163-64.) On the way the jewels of the God and the valuable belongings of Lokacarya were all taken away by robbers. In the course of a month’s stay here Pillai Lokacarya is said to have died distressed by the news of the woes suffered by his own kith and kin at Srirangam. Leaving Jyotiskudi they turned west and reached the famous Vaisnava shrine of Tirumalirumsolai (Alagarkoil), 12 miles north of Madurai, where the idol was kept for a year. From Alagarkoil they were obliged to flee in a north-western direction until they reached Kolikodu (Calicut), where they found many refugees like themselves, carrying the fugitive gods from the various sacred shrines in South India. Prominent mention is made of the image of Nammalvar from Tirunagari which was taken under the protection of the party carrying Alagiyamanavalan. The party stayed in Calicut for a year. From there they journeyed on in a north eastern direction and reached Tirukkinambi, an important Vaisnava shrine in the Gundlupet Taluk in the extreme south of Mysore state. A Tirukkinambi the image of Nammalvar was installed in the local temple and, after a stay of many days, the fugitive of Srirangam proceeded in the same direction covering vast distances through jungles to avoid capture. Ultimately they reached Punganur in the Chittoor district and bordering on the Mysore State. At Punganur they sensed danger and were obliged to fly back into the Mysore country. They stayed in the temple of Tirunarayanapuram or Melukote (Seringapatam tq.), to the north of Tirukkinambi, for a long time, and then made themselves bold to rush across Mysore and the Cittoor district to Tirupati. In the shrine of Sri


and the



to Tirupati.

In the


of Sri

Venkateswara on the Tirupati hills the Ranganatha image was safely deposited for a long time until it was taken back to Srirangam and reinstalled there by the chiefs of Vijayanagar in 1371. It is not possible to verify the actual details of the perigrinations of the Ranganatha idol sketched above. The route adopted by the fugitives clearly shows that the object of the latter was to keep as far away from the Muslims as possible. Ultimately the image found shelter in Tirupati, which shrine seems to have escaped the depradations of the advancing invaders on both the occasions. Malik Kafur marched from Dwarasamudra to Pattan (Viradhavalam) and thence to Kandur thus leaving Tirupati in the north. The details of Ulugh Khan’s march on Ma’bar from Warangalare not furnished by the Muslim historians and most probably he came to Pattan due south from Warangal and then proceeded to Madurai thus leaving Tirupati in the west. The Koil-Olugu, however, says (while adverting to the story of the Sultani) that the Muslims heard at Srirangam that the Perumal was at Tirupati and that they came to Tirupati and sent uphills several search parties but could not find the Perumal. This account has to be treated on a par with the story of the Sultani. It would appear that Srirangam suffered twice (obviously in 1311 and 1323) as a result of the Muslim invasion and that the final restoration of worship in the temple was effected only in 1371. After the first raid worship was restored with the help of a substitute image the ‘Tiruvaranga Maligaiyar’ of the Olugu. Even this had to leave the temple in 1323 and from this date to 1371 there was no worship, as usual, in the temple. During this period the Utsava bera (the procession image) was housed in Tirupati. According to the Tirupati tradition the Ranganatha image was housed in the Rangamandapam in the Tirumalai temple and as the God was staying as a guest Tiruvaradana (i.e., puja and good-offering) was done first to Him and certain prabandas considered dear to Him was recited in the presence of Venkateswara of Tirumalai-Tirupati. Strictly speaking and on the basis of historical evidence available, however, it is to be presumed that the image first lost was lost for ever. The account of the first restoration (including the stories of Pincenravalli and the Kodavar) is as much unhistorical as the story of the Sultani. As stated earlier they belong to the realm of folk-lore and mythology.36 (One of the bronzes kept in the sanctum of the Srirangam temple and resembling the main procession image is called TiruvarangaMaligaiyar and worship is offered to it as yajna murti along with other smaller images for snanam, sayanam, bali and tirtam. This however does not prove the story in the Olugu. It is possible that the original image was after

prove the story in the Olugu. It is possible that the original image was after all secreted and saved some how on the first occasion and that this gave rise in due course to the stories of Pincentravalli the Kodavar.

The Temple under Muslim occupation
Direct control was exercised over Ma’bar from Delhi between the years 1324 and 1334. In the latter year the governor with headquarters at Madurai, declared himself independent and thus founded the Kingdom of Ma’bar. This kingdom or the Sultanate of Madurai was extinguished by the rising tide of Vijayanagar in 1378. Parts of the kingdom had already been overrun, eg., Srirangam had been taken in 1371 and the temple restored. Some information about the Srirangam temple during the Muslim occupation is furnished by the Koil-Olugu. The Muslim chief, it appears, made the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa, opposite to the sanctum sanctorum, his residence and from there ruled the villages surrounding Srirangam. One of the temple courtesans, who fascinated the Muslim general dissuaded him from destroying the temple completely and made him content himself with the mutilation of the cornices of the various gopuras and mantapas of the temple and a few images like the Dvarapalakas surrounding the central shrine. The general, who was frequently attacked by disease as long as he remained in the temple, quitted it in despair and lived in Kannanur, where he pulled-down the walls of Poysalesvara temple and erected a fortress for himself. The temple itself was converted into a mosque.37 (162 of 193637, which states that the temple of Posalesvra Udaiyanar, which had been converted into a mosque by the Tulukkar, was reconsecrated by Kampana Udaiyar in the course of his victorious campaign.) A brahmana by name Singappiran, a kaniyala of the temple (i.e., an officer exercising control over the temple lands), who was interested in the safety of the temple and the town, won the acquaintance of the chief through the temple courtesan, and acting as his servant at the gate, safeguarded the precincts of the temple as far as he could. With the disappearance of the procession images, the original as well as the substitute, regular of Srirangam, it would appear, did their best to attend on the sanctum image of Ranganatha (Periya Perumal) by giving Him the holy bath and offering Him oblations, secretly or otherwise, but were constantly harassed by the Muslims, who swarmed the temple. The temple courtesan could not bear this. She attracted the Muslim chief by means of her charms, took him up a gopura in the east, and, in the act of showing to him the image of Paravasudeva (on the main vimana), pushed him down. This killed him. Haunted by the fear of the consequences of the sin of muder she too threw herself down, but did not die. “Later on,

when the other Muslim armies had fled, the parijanas opened the doors of the temple and found life still lingering in the body of the dasi. Immediately they all went to the Perumal and appealed to Him. Through the instrumentality of an archaka the Perumal came to her and, with great satisfaction, asked her what boon she wanted. She replied, ‘whenever any of my creed dies the fire for cremation should be fetched from the temple kitchen, and to them must be offered a certain quantity of rice from the store house, and also tirtham, garland and parivattam’. Accordingly from that day her requests are being fulfilled.”38 (KO pp.128-9, 134-5. This account is also given in the Acaryasuktimuktavali, the Vaisnava hagiology in Telugu by Namburi Kesavacaryai. This work says that the Muslim chief was pushed down from the Vellagopuram. Dr.S.K.Ayyangar, Sources of Vijayanagar History, p.p.40-45.) This account too, is best treated as another Euhemerian legend, like that of the Sultani or Bibi Nacciyar, grown up around memories of the Muslim occupation and chronicled in an obvious attempt to cover up an otherwise humiliating picture. The Prapannamrtam39 (a Vaisnava hagiology of the Vadakulai variety, in Sanskrit written by Anantarya, a contemporary of Venkatapati Raya (1585-1614). This gives an elaborate account of the sack of the temple and wanderings of the Ranganathan idol. Dr.S.K.Ayyangar, Ibid., pp.34-40.) says that a Dravida brahmana by name Narasimhadeva (‘Singappiran’ of the Olugu) persuaded the Muslim conqueror to remove his headquarters from Srirangam to Samayapuram (Kannanur) and had himself appointed as manager of the Vaisnava shrine. As a result of his vigilance and caution the shrine and its inhabitants were given some respite and it was possible for some of the fugitives to return once more to their native homes. The Vijayanagar chronicles corroborate, in a large measure, the accounts of the hagiologies and they are more informative as regards the restoration and re-consecration of the divine images, which would be considered in the next chapter. The Madhuravijayam (by Gangadevi, wife of Kampana, the son of Bukka I, describing his exploits in Ma’bar) gives the following sketch of the state of temples and their environs in South India during the Muslim rule: “The temples in the land have fallen into neglect as worship in them has been stopped. Within their walls the frightful howls of jackals have taken the place of the reverberations of the mridanga. Like the Turuskas, who know no limits, the Kaveri has forgotten her ancient boundaries and brings frequent destruction with her floods. The sweet odour of the sacrificial smoke and the chant of the Vedas have deserted the agraharas, which are now filled with the foul smell of roasted flesh and the

agraharas, which are now filled with the foul smell of roasted flesh and the fierce noises of the ruffinaly Turuskas”. To put an end to this sort of affairs Kampana undertook his southern expedition. Of Srirangam and Jambukesvaram this work says: “The vimana of Srirangam is so dilapidated that now it is the hood of Adisesa along that is protecting the image of Ranganatha from the falling debris. The Lord of Gajaranya (Jambukesvaram), who once killed an elephant to obtain its skin for his garment, has now again been reduced to the same condition, because he has been stripped of all clothing.”

Ramanuja to Vedantadesika
As the Srirangam temple happened to be the loadstar of the Vaisnava movement in South India, particularly during the period of Ramanuja and immediately after, it is necessary, here, to trace briefly the Vaisnava apostolic succession in Srirangam from the point where it was left earlier, i.e. Ramanuja’s work in connection with the Srirangam temple. In the postRamanuja period Srirangam gradually lost its preeminent position owing to the split that grew step by step in the Vaisnava movement leading to the mergence, in due course, of the Tenkalai and Vadakalai sects of Vaisnavism. Srirangam, as a result, became the headquarters of the former and Kanchipuram that of the latter. Thus the period from Ramanuja to Vedantadesika, roughly covered by two centuries (1150-1350) was a critical period in the history of South Indian Vaisnavism, when the seeds of discord were sown resulting in the split, which became quite patent in the 15th and 16th centuries. For the same reason a study of this period is beset with serious difficulties. For the first time, e.g. A uniform development is followed by disunity and partisanship and the consequent uncertainty of succession and dates. It is not possible for a modern historian either to uphold entirely or criticise downright either of the Vadakalai or Tenkalai versions of the Vaisnava apostolic succession. In the absence of any material, epigraphical or otherwise, in the shape of confirmatory evidence, the historian has to depend entirely on the two sets of Guru paramparais. To question even a minor detail of either or to point out inconsistencies and improbabilities in them may be to invite violent criticism based on sectarian rancour and rouse fruitless controversy. It is not proposed, here, to enter into such a controversy, and the only object is to sketch briefly the wellmarked tendencies and stages of development of Vaisnavism in Srirangam, which are also relevant to the history of the temple. So far as the administrative organisation of the temple was concerned Ramanuja’s system (Udayavar tirtam) was sought to be continued and was not interfered with. The progress was more spiritual and literary than secular.

The progress was more spiritual and literary than secular. The period under consideration was one of “growing party-spirit and not of actual party split”. That was the dominant characteristic of this essentially transitional period. It arose, briefly, in the following manner. Even in the last days of Ramanuja two distinct modes of expounding the Vaisnava darsana or system were recognised. They were called the pravacanas, viz., the Sribhasya pravacana and the Dravidamnaya pravacana. The former consisted of the study of the Vedanta sutras with the help of Ramanuja’s commentary on them in Sanskrit and the latter the study of the 4,000 sacred prabandas, in Tamil, of the Alvars. Ramanuja followed both the methods in his expositions, but later on this gave rise to two separate schools, two centres and two paramparas or succession lists. According to the Tenkalai version Parasara Bhattar, the son of Kurattalvan, (i.e., the Alvan of Kuram, whose name was also Parasara Bhattar) succeeded Ramanuja on the pontifical seat at Srirangam. He is said to have defeated, in a great religious disputation, a famous philosopher of his time from Mysore called Vedanti. A certain Virasundarabrahma Rayar is said to have reconstructed the wall of the Trivikraman enclosure (i.e., the 6th wall surrounding the Ranganatha shrine). This benefactor was arrogant and he made the life of Bhattar in Srirangam intolerable. As a result Bhattar left Srirangam for Tirukkottiyur and returned only after the death of the Rayar. Probably this benefactor was a local chief in charge of the region round Srirangam, in the days of the last Cola kings, analogous with the ‘Koil-kuru-udaiyan Alagiyasolabrahma Rayan,’ figuring in the Srirangam epigraph of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I.40 (53 of 1892; SII, IV 500. The reference means ‘Alagiyasolabrahma Rayan, in charge of the (Srirangam) temple and its environs.) Bhattar has left to his credit eight works, viz., Sahasranamabhasya, Astasloki, Gunaratnakosa, etc. All of these are in Sanskrit. Vedanti, who was vanquished by Bhattar in debate, became the fervent disciple of his victor, under the name of Nanjiyar, and after the demise of the teacher the pupil succeeded to the gadi at Srirangam.41 (One of the disciples of Bhattar was one Pillai Perumal Iyengar, also known as Alagiyamanavaladasa. He was a great devotee of Sriranganatha and the ‘swing song’ in Tamil called Sriranganayakar usal is attributed to him. According to a popular tradition Pillaipperumal Aiyangar was so much devoted to Ranganatha that he refused to compose verses on Venkatesa of Tirupati. The statement aranganaipadum vayal kuranganaippaden is attributed to him. As a result he is said to have suffered from canker of the neck. He got relief when he retracted. God Ranganatha is said to have informed him that He and Venkatesa were not different. The portrait of Srinivasa Perumal (Venkatesa) in the first prakara of the temple is said to commemmorate

(Venkatesa) in the first prakara of the temple is said to commemmorate this, One difficulty in verifying this account is the existence of more than one Pillaipperumal Aiyangar, alias Alagiya manavala-dasa, widely differing in date.) His chief work was a commentary on the Tiruvaimoli called, from the number of verses in contained, ‘the 9,000’. He had a precocious pupil by name Nambur Varadaraja, whom he engaged to write a clean copy of his work. When Varadaraja was crossing the Kaveri with the manuscript to his own village, a swift current came on and swept off the bundle of candian leaves from the hands of Varadaraja. The pupil reached home sad but undismayed. Out of memory he wrote out a complete transcript of the commentary, and when Bhattar saw it, he saw his own commentary not only complete but much improved in many a context. In amazement he called Varadaraja Nampillai (My son or our Son). Nampillai succeeded to the seat of Nanjiyar, it would appear, in the last days of his teacher. Nampillai was an ardent lover of the Tamil Prabandas and he was great force in the formation of the Prabanda school at Srirangam. Engal Alvan and Varadacarya of the Bhasya school were his contemporaries. On the withdrawal of the latter to Kanchipuram from Srirangam Nampillai acted vigorously and gathered around himself a band of veteran scholars, whose avowed object was to win for the nascent Prabanda school stability and popular recognition based on sectarian literature. The Arayirappadi Guruparamparai sketches a conflict between Kandadai Tolappa, the grandson of Mudaliyandan, and hence belonging to the orthodox and traditional school, and Nampillai. In the end, however, they were reconciled. On this incident V.Rangachari comments, “the story is significant enough. It tells us in a clear and unmistakable manner how the Prabandic movement was looked upon as heterodox, how it began in a small scale and how it gained strength in the time of Nampillai by bringing round even such orthodox men as the Acharyic Kandadais.”42 (V.Rangachari: The successors of Ramanuja, JBb RAS VXXI, pp. 120 ff.) Under the inspiring leadership of Nampillai his chief two disciples, viz., Periya Accan Pillai and Pinbalagiya Perumal Jiyar, did two signal services to the cause of the Prabanda school. Periya Accan Pillai is famous as the veteran commentator, of the ‘Four thousand sacred prabandas’ or the Nalayiradivya-prabandam, and his compilation called ‘the 24,000’ was based on the Prabanda lectures of his teacher. Pinbalagiya Perumal Jiyar’s contribution to the cause of the Tenkalai school was even more substantial. He wrote out a Guruparamparai or a succession list of Acaryas, which claimed for Nampillai’s teachings all the sanctity and veneration of a creed professed by a line of Acaryas and thus gave a traditional or Apostolic basis, without which no doctrine could command any hearing in the medieval days, to what was in fact a protestant wing of Vaisnavism. He wrote in the

days, to what was in fact a protestant wing of Vaisnavism. He wrote in the peculiar manipravala style (a mixture of Tamil and Sanskrit), gave prominence to the Prabanda teaching and teachers and omitted all mention of the orthodox and Sanskrit school and their activities in Kanchipuram. The Jiyar gives the date Kali 4308 or A.D.1207 for the birth of Nampillai, who appears to have lived upto A.D.1302, for he is credited with a life of 95 years. Nampillai was succeeded on the pontifical seat at Srirangam by Periya Accan Pillai. As a fastidious thinker and writer the latter produced, over and above his ‘24,000’, other commentaries on the four thousand sacred Prabandas, and composed various treatises, viz., Upakara-ratnam, Caramarahasyam, Manikkamalai, Navaratnamalai, etc., all in Manipravala. Periya Accan Pillai was succeeded by another disciple of Nampillai by name Vadakkuttiruvidi pillai.43 (The name means ‘the Pillai of the North Street’ [of Srirangam]) he had composed a voluminous commentary on the Tiruvaimoli, called ‘the 36,000’ (well known as the Idu), containing the essence of the lectures of his guru, but due to some reason it remained in private hands until Manavala Mahamuni revised and published it to the outside world. The son and successor of Vadakkuttiruvidi Pillai was Pillai Lokacarya, who was the famous contemporary of Vedantadesika. His birth is placed in Kali 4366 or A.D.1265. He had a brother named Alagiyamanavala Perumal Nainar. Both the brothers were deeply learned in the Prabanda school and working hand in hand they brought out a number of treatises mainly addressed to the common folk with a view to explain to them the doctrine of prapatti and the purity of their own creed based on that doctrine. Their two chief works were Sri Vacana Bhusana and Acarya Hridaya. They are 16 other minor works attributed to Pillai Lokacarya like the Tani-Tirumantram, ArthaPancakam, Tani-Caramam, etc., each explaining in lucid terms the meanings of the texts of important mantras. These works called the Astadasarahasyas or ‘Eighteen Secrets’ from the first and basic text book of the Tenkalai school and as such Pillai Lokacarya is held in high veneration by the Tenkalais of today, to whom he is next only to Manavala Mahamuni. According to the Vadakalai version Tirukkurugaippiran Pillan was the successor of Ramanuja on the spiritual throne at Srirangam. Like Ramanuja he was exercising control over both the Bhasya and the Prabanda sides of the Vaisnava darsana. He was followed by Engal Alvan, whose disciple and successor was the famous Nadadur Ammal or Varadacarya. His nativity is placed in Kali 4266 or A.D.1165. Thus he was the elder contemporary of Nampillai on the Prabanda side. Varadacarya effected the epoch-making transfer of his residence and scene of lectures to Kanchipuram from

transfer of his residence and scene of lectures to Kanchipuram from Srirangam, thus giving rise to the geographical factor of the split among the Vaisnavas. This might have been due to several causes. For one thing Kanchipuram was the native home of Varadacarya. Probably the vociferous activities of Nampillai and his redoutable disciples caused him considerable embarassment and he might have withdrawn to Kanchipuram guided by his own inclination and convenience. It is also said that his particular devotion to God Varadaraja of Kanchipuram was the cause of the transfer of headquarters. Whatever the cause the result was quite manifest. All scholars, who believed in the orthodox and traditional school flocked under the banners of Varadacarya at Kanchipuram, leaving Nampillai and his disciples at Srirangam quite free to propagate their own protestant school of Vaisnavism. The latter protested against the exclusive, too orthodox and unduly ritualistic tendencies visible in the efforts of the traditional followers of Ramanuja, and advocated a “more popular, less ritualistic, and more devotional creed”. They condemned the rigidity of the caste system and advocated a democratic basis for the Vaisnava religion. The result was obvious. In course of time Kanchipuram came to be identified with the Sanskrit and traditional school of the Bhasya, and Srirangam with the Tamil and popular school of the Prabanda. For all practical purposes, say by 1247, when Nampillai was forty and Varadacarya eighty-two, the parties had begun; but it has to be clearly understood that the partisan spirit, which brought into being two irreconcilable explanations sects of the called origin the of Vadakalai this split and by the Tenkalai made its see appearance only in the 15th century and later.44 (For some of the wrong western scholars V.Rangachari’s article (op.cit.) p.109, n.1.) The Bhasya lectures of Varadacarya at Kanchipuram attracted all Vaisnava scholars in the neighbourhood including, according to the Vadakalai Guruparamparai, Periya Accan Pillai and Vadakkuttiruvidi Pillai of Srirangam. His lectures on the Sribhasya were put into writing by one of his disciples, Sudarsanacarya, and this commentary came to be known as the Srutaprakasika. Tatvasara represented Varadacarya’s philosophical teachings. He is said to have met Venkatanatha, Vedantadesika of a later day, as a boy of five. Hence his death has to be placed sometime after 1274-75, the date of Vedantadesika’s birth being 1269, according to all accounts. Thus Varadacarya, like Ramanuja, is credited with a long life of more than 110 years. After Varadacarya Atreya Ramanuja alias Appillar succeeded to the pontifical seat at Kanchipuram while Sundarsanacarya undertook to discharge the duties of the Acarya at Srirangam. Appillar seems to have held the gadi only for a period of about 20 years for he is said to have died after the completion of spiritual training and marriage of

said to have died after the completion of spiritual training and marriage of Venkatanatha, who was his own nephew which event could be placed about 1295, the 26th year of Venkatanatha. The latter was the famous successor of Apillar at Kanchipuram. Vedantadesika was born at Tuppil, a suburb of Kanchipuram in Kali 4370 or A.D.1268. His father was Anantasuri Somayaji, an orthodox Vaisnava of Kanci, While Totaramma, his mother was the sister of Appillar. The child was supposed his mother was the sister of Appillar. The child was supposed to be an incarnation of the divine bell of the shrine of Srivenkatesa at Tirupati and an avatar of Ramanuja. As a young boy and student of Appillar Vedantadesika gave a clear indication of the prodigy he was going to be in the future. His remarkable memory and precocious genius enabled him to master all the branches of the Vedanta and the Prabanda lore before he was twenty. After the demise of Appillar he was called upon to occupy the pontifical set at Kanchipuram. To obtain the grace of Garuda he went to Tiruvanindrapuram, where he stayed for a few years. There, in the presence of God Devanayaka, he delivered his first lectures and composed his first panegyrics and a few years. There, in the presence of God Devanayaka, he delivered his first lectures and composed his first panegyrics and a few philosophical works. His panegyrics like Gopalavimsati, Garuda Pancasat, Hyagrivastotra, etc., were in Sanskrit. He also composed a few works in Tamil (manipravalam). Then he returned to Kanchipuram and spent a few years devoted to religious discourses and writing. His two chief works of this period were Varadarajapancasat, a famous poem on the God of Kanci, and Nyasadasaka, which was an exposition of the doctrine of Prapatti. A large number of Tamil works containing the gist of his teachings, were also written during this period; some of them were the Adaikkalappattu, the Tiruccinnamalai, the Arthapancakam, etc., and also the well known Hastigiri Mahatmya in manipravalam, being the stalapurana of Kanchipuram. A tour of northern India in the course of which he visited all the sacred Vaisnava shrines north of Kanchipuram followed and the prominent incident mentioned is his meeting with the sage, Vidyaranya on the banks of the Tungabhadra. Subsequent to his return to Kanchipuram a new set of circumstances developed in Srirangam, which necessitated the presence of Vedantadesika there. It appears that a set of advaitins under an able leader challenged the Vaisnava pontiffs at Srirangam to meet them in debate and defend the Visistadvaitta philosophy. The aged Sudarsana Bhatta felt himself unequal to the task and the other leaders including Perio Accan Pillai and Pillai Lokacarya, whose versatility on the Bhasya side, it is said, was not as profound as on the Prabanda, did not rise to the occasion. The leaders gathered together and resolved to invite Vedantadesika from Kanchipuram to

gathered together and resolved to invite Vedantadesika from Kanchipuram to Srirangam and entrust him with the defence of Visistadvaita. A communication was sent to Kanchipuram in the name of God Ranganatha, inviting Vedantadesika to assume supreme control over the affairs at Srirangam. In obedience to the divine command Desika migrated to Srirangam and defeated the Advaitins in a prolonged debate. Satadhusani is the famous compendium of the arguments that he used to behalf of Visistadvaita in the course of this debate. Probably it was as a result of this achievement that Vedantadesika won for himself the significant titles of ‘Vedantacarya’, ‘Kavitarkikasimha’, and ‘Brahmatantrasvatantra’. On the request of God Ranganatha, it is said Desika was obliged to prolong his stay at Srirangam and continue to exercise supreme control over the Vaisnava darsana. Vedantadesika’s assumption of leadership at Srirangam came most probably soon after Malik Kafur’s raid in 1310-11.45 (In connection with his stay at Srirangam we are referred to only one Muslim invasion, and that was the one headed by Ulugh Khan in 1323-24. It could not have been the earlier invasion because, according to tradition, Vedantadesika was actively engaged in Srirangam for some years with the peaceful task of religious instruction and writing before he had to face the Muslim irruption; and if this invasion were the one which occurred in 1310-11 it is not possible to accommodate the period of his active stay at Srirangam between the year of his assumption of the gadi in that shrine, which according to tradition took place sometime after his 40th year (say 1311 or 1312), and the invasion (i.e., 1311). See also JBb RAS XXIV, pp.289-90.) His period of stay at Srirangam formed the most glorious chapter in his life. He carried on, at the same time, with considerable endurance and persistence the prodigious task of delivering religious lecturers and writing out commentaries as well as original works. A few of his first works during this period were the Tatvatika (a gloss on the Sribhasya), the Tatparyacandrika (a commentary on the Gitabhasya), the Nyayasiddhanjana (a text book of Visistadvaita logics), and the Tatvamuktakalapa (a study of the nature of the universe in the light of Visistadvaita philosophy) together with a gloss on it called the Sarvarthasiddhi. He wrote a large number of minor works explaining the ideals of Srivaisnavism and the daily routine of an orthodox Srivaisnava and expounding the meaning of the mantras. Some of them were the Saccaritraraksa; the Rahasya raksa, the Pancaratra-raksa, the latvapadavi, the Rahasyapadavi, and the like, some of which were in manipravalam. At this point the Guruparamparai gives a few interesting details about Vedantadesika’s controversies with non-vaisnavas. It is said that a great dispute arose at Vijayanagar between Vidyaranya and Aksobhyamuni,









representatives respectively of Advaita and Dvaita philosophies. Unable to arrive at a decision the arbiters made arrangements through the king to refer the dispute to Vedantadesika, who decided in favour of Aksobhya. Vidyaranya was enraged at this and wrote back to Desika criticising the superfluity of a single letter ca in this work Satadhusani (of course not being able to point out any genuine mistake). Vedantadesika was not dismayed and he wrote a pamphlet called Cakarasamarthana, defending the retention of that letter in his work. The contemporaneity of Vedantadesika, Vidyaranya and Aksobhayamuni need not be doubted, but it is certain that Vedantadesika’s arbitration could not have happened during the period of his stay at Srirangam. i.e., before the Muslim invasion of his stay at Srirangam. i.e., before the Muslim invasion of 1323, for the controversy between Vidyaranya and Aksobyamuni, said to have taken place in the court of Vijayanagar and in the royal presence, must be dated sometime after 1336, the date of foundation of Vijayanagar. It is known that Aksobhya himself occupied the Madhava pontifical seat only between the years 1350 and 1367; and hence it is definite that the controversy and arbitration referred to by the Vaibhava-prakasika have to be accommodated between these two dates. It is also known that at this period Srirangam was occupied by the Muslims and that Vedantadesika was living at an exile in Satyamangalam. It may be held probable that he wrote out the famous couplet passing judgement in favour of Aksobhya46 (‘Asina tatvamasina parajiva prabhodina Vidyaranya maharanyam Aksobhyamuni raccinath’) either from Satyamangalam or Vijayanagar, to which place he might have proceeded at royal invitation. Another interesting detail mentioned in the Guruparamparai is the controversy that Vedantadesika had with an Advaitin by name Krisnamisra. Unable to face Desika in a philosophic debate Krisnamisra offered to the Vaisnava leader his Advaitic drama entitled Prabodacandrodaya and challenged whether he could produce anything like it. Immediately Desika composed in a single night, we are told, his well known Visistadvaitic drama Sankalpasuryodaya. In the same way a certain Dindimakavi is said to have challenged Desika with his work Ramabhyudaya when Desika composed in reply two poems the Yadavabhyudaya and the Hamsasandesa, and thus put Dindimakavi to shame. The story of the meeting with Krisnamisra, who belonged to the 12th century, only means that Desika studied the former’s Prabodacandrodaya and in reply to it wrote the Sankalpasuryodaya. As regards his meeting with Dindimakavi, it has to be said that no Dindimakavi, who was the contemporary of Vedantadesika and author of a work called Ramabhyudaya is known to history. This mixture of fact and legend may

Ramabhyudaya is known to history. This mixture of fact and legend may perhaps be taken to signify the uncompromising nature of the mind of Vedantadesika, who evidently gave no rest to himself or peace to his philosophical opponents. It was not in the nature of things that the party of Pillai Lokacarya and his brother Alagiyamanavala Perumal Nainar should have looked upon the rising popularity of Vedantadesika with equanimity. Many incidents of petty conflict and heart-burning are related in the Guruparamparai. The upshot of the growing discontent on the part of the Tenkalai party at Srirangam was a challenge thrown at Vedantadesika by Alagiyamanavala Perumal Nainar; the latter proclaimed that Desika could retain his title Kavitarkikasimha only if he undertook to compose, in a competition with himself a 1000 verses on the Lord in the course of a single night. Vedantadesika joined the competition and easily completed, we are told, a 1000 verses on the sandals of God, well known as the Paduka-sahasram before it was dawn, while his rival could finish only 300 verses on the feet of God. Above all Vedantadesika’s position in Srirangam could not be weakened because he was as strong on the Prabanda side as on the Bhasya. He is credited with a monumental commentary on the Divyaprabandas called the ‘74000’, which, if it had been actually written, is lost irretrievably to the scholars of the present day. The collection of his beautiful Tamil verses on the Prabandas, called the Desikaprabandam and many short treatises on the Mantra, the Dvaya, the caramasloka and the Gita, however are a standing testimony to his proficiency on the Prabanda side of the Vaisnava lore. From the above account it is clear that the Srirangam temple had developed, on the eve of the Muslim invasion (of 1323), into a great centre of peaceful and progressive religious and literary activity and supplied inspiration to some of the leading lights among the Vaisnavas of the age to compose works of intense religious fervour and devotion. The Muslims under Ulugh Khan descended upon Srirangam like a whilwind in 1323, massacred a helpless ‘army’ of 12,000 ascetics that were guarding the shrine and occupied the temple, which at once ceased to be a place of worship and became instead a scene of intense desolation and gloom. The party of Pillai Lokacarya, who it may be supposed had greater control over the administration of the temple took immediate charge of the images of the God and the Goddess and fled in a southern direction for safety. Vedantadesika himself fled to Satyamangalam on the Kaveri (sometimes identified with a place called Satyagalam, near Kollegal), with the single manuscript of the Srutaprakasika of the aged Sudarsanacarya of the Kuram family and his two little sons, Vedacarya Bhatta and Parasara Bhatta.47 (From Satyamangalam

little sons, Vedacarya Bhatta and Parasara Bhatta.47 (From Satyamangalam Vedantadesika went to Tirunarayanapuram. Here he is said to have composed a work called Abhithistavam praying for the restoration of the Srirangam temple and his return to the shrine. (Vedantadesika-Vaibhavam, Tamil, by P.B.Annagaracharyar, Kanchipuram, 1962-p.17.)

The Telugu chiefs and the Srivaisnava Acaryas of Srirangam
That certain Telugu chiefs were the disciples of Vaisnava Acaryas of Srirangam about the first half of the 14th century is attested by tradition as well as inscriptions. The Guruparamparai, while dealing with the stay of Vedantadesika in Srirangam just before the Muslim invasion of 1323, says that Sarvajna Singappa, a chieftain of the north sent messengers to Srirangam to fetch Vedantadesika to his capital with a view to seek spiritual guidance at the feet of the Acarya. Vedantadesika, who was himself unable to proceed to the north, had the magnanimity to compose for the sake of the royal suppliant a few works explaining the gist of his teachings and send them along with the messengers to the chieftain. The works under reference are said to be the Subhasitanivi, with its commentary, the Ratnapetika, the Tatvasandesa, the Rahasyasandesa and its commentary the Rahasyasandesavivarana.48 (JBb RAS XXIV, p.300.) The Telugu chieftain, who became a disciple of Vedantadesika, has variously been identified. The Vaibhavaprakasika, says that he was the son of Madhava Nayaka and the ruler of Ekasilanagari-Rajamahendrapattana. This capital has been identified by some with Vontimitta in the Cuddapah district, said to have formed part of the Venkatagiri zamindari, whose chief was Sarvagna Singa. It is also held that he was the tenth in descent from Cevi Reddi alias Betala Naidu, the founder.49 (Ibid., foot note.) But these surmises can be given up in favour of his identification with Singaya, the younger brother of Mummadi Nayaka, the chief of Korukonda, who it is known from inscriptions was the disciple of Parasara Bhatta VII of Srirangam. The Srirangam plates of Mummadi Nayaka dated S.1280 (A.D.1358) record that Mummadi, the king of the Telinga country, granted to Bhatta Parasara, the seventh, the village of Kottallaparru, which the donce’s mother regranted to God Sriranganatha of Srirangam.50 (EI, XIV, pp.83 ff.) The inscription states that this chief belonged to the family of Mancikonda and that he ruled over the Telugu country bounded on the north by Kanya-kubja, on the south by the Pandya country, on the east by Kalinga and on the west by Maharastra, and with its capital at Korukonda. His conquests included the Panara, the Kona, the Kuravataka, the Chengara and other countries lying on either side of the Godavari. He is said to have

other countries lying on either side of the Godavari. He is said to have married the niece of Kapaya Nayaka, the Telugu chief, who played a leading role in freeing Warangal and the neighbouring tracts from the Muslim yoke as early as 1330.51 (N.Venkataramanayya, Early Muslim Expansion in South India, pp.169-72.) Mummadi became a disciple of Parasara Bhatta VII (i.e., the seventh in descent from Parasara Bhatta I or Kurattalvan, the well known disciple of Ramanuja) when the latter had gone over to the Telingadesa. The village was granted to him as Gurudaksina. Kurattalvan alias Srivatsacihna Misra had two sons Parasara Bhatta and Rama Misra. Rama Misra’s son was Vagvijaya Bhatta alias Naduviltiruvidi Pillai Bhattar. His son was Vedavyasa alias Sudarsana Bhatta, the author of the Srutaprakasika. He had two sons Vedacarya Bhatta and Parasara Bhatta, the later of whom figures as the donee of this epigraph. Mummadi assumed the title Srirangavardhana probably in commenmoration of his having become the pupil of Parasara Bhatta of Srirangam. An inscription dated in A.D.1353 from Korukonda refers, in confirmation of the Srirangam copper plates, to Mummadi and Parasara Bhatta as pupil and teacher.52 (EI XIV, p.84; ARE 1913, Pt.II, para 71.) Mummadi Nayaka was the great grandson of Kesami Nayaka and he had to brothers by name Singaya and Gannaya. The disciple of Vedantadesika might very well have been the elder of the two brothers. While Mummadi chose Parasara Bhatta VII as his guru Singaya might have chose Parasara Bhatta VII as his guru Singaya might have chosen his elder and more famous contemporary, viz., Vedantadesika even earlier, say about 1325.

The Institution of the Adina of Sriranganarayana Jiyar
One of the historically important adjuncts of the Srirangam temple is the office of Sriranganarayana Jiyar, which was created by the Stalattar of the temple sometime before the Muslim invasions The Koil-Olugu, the Annan Tirumaligai Olugu and the Sriranganarayana Jiyar Guruparamparai furnish details of the installation of this Adina. Kuranarayana Jiyar, said to be a disciple of Kurattalvan, was the first occupant of the gadi of Sriranganarayana Jiyar. The Guruparamparai says that he ascended the gadi in the Pallavesvaran mutt in S.1048 or A.D.1126. He was a great saint and a maha-mantrica (i.e. having considerable mystical power). As a resident of Srirangam he is credited with many valuable services to the town, to the temple and to the Perumal. He foiled the attempt of a wicked Sannyasi of Seringapatam to remove the Ranganatha image from Srirangam to his own town by means of his mantric powers, put an end to the hostile activities of

town by means of his mantric powers, put an end to the hostile activities of the Saivas of Jambukesvaram, rescued the images of the Perumal and the Nacciyar from being swept away by a swift current in the Kaveri in the course of a float festival in the month of Adi, constructed firm embankments of the Kaveri and stopped the havoc caused to parts of Srirangam by occasional floods in the river, dug out a huge tank to the west of the temple for conducting the float festival, repaired various parts of the temple and installed in the temple various deities like Vasanta Gopala Hayagriva, Vedavyasa, Gnanappiran, Parthasarathy, Vittalesvara and others.53 (KO.pp.114-125) These services naturally endeared the Jiyar to the inhabitants of Srirangam, who were eager to associate him with the responsible headship of the temple. According to the arrangements, established by Udayavar, however, the descendents of Mudaliyandan were exercising control over the administration of the temple. But Periya Varadacaryar alias Periya Ayi, the great grandson of Mudaliyandan, who was then exercising the Srikaryam, understood the popular wish and willingly took Kuranarayana Jiyar into the service of the temple and assigned to him certain duties and also the Pallavarayan mutt. In course of time the Jiyar, known as Sriranganarayana Jiyar, acquired considerable power and prestige in the temple organisation as well as control over the religious code. His was an office elected by the temple parijanas and not a hereditary one.54 (It is not possible to reconcile the divers accounts of the local chronicles regarding the foundation of the gadi of Sriranganarayana Jiyar. Since the Koil-Olugu and the Annan Tirumaligai Olugu make him the contemporary of Periya Ayi, the great grandson of Mudaliyandan and grand father of Srirangarajanathan Vaduladesika, the manager of the temple during the invasion of 1323, he may be assigned to the 13th century.

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Events of Today

Chapter 7



The Restoration of the Temple
Putting together the literary and epigraphic evidences it can be said that Ma’bar was conquered by the Vijayanagar princes in the course of three expeditions in 1351-52, 1360-61 and 1371.1 (Dr.N.Venkataramanayya, Jmu. XI, 57, 63.) A few names like Saluva Mangu, Saluva Gunda and Gopana figure in these expeditions. These were generals who served under Kumara Kampana. It is not possible to assess with exactitude the success that attended on each one of these three, but it is definite that the final blow against the Muslims in the south was struck only in 1371, in which year the Srirangam temple was freed from the Muslim yoke. In fact works like the Jaimini Bharatam, Saluvabhyudayam and Ramabhyudayam that throw considerable light on the early Vijayanagar conquests make prominent mention of the restoration and reconsecration of the Srirangam temple. Above all there is the inscription of Gopanarya in the Srirangam temple, which assigns the event to 1371.2 (EI.VI. pp.322 ff ‘Hail! Prosperity! In the Saka year (expressed by the chronogram) Bandhupriya i.e., S.1293); (Verse 1) Having brought (The God) from the Anjanadri (mountain), the splendour of whose darkish peaks gives delight to the world, having worshipped (him) at Chenchi for sometime, then having slain the Tulushkas, whose bows were raised, - Gopanarya, the mirror of fame, placing Ranganatha together with both Lakshmi and the Earth in His own town (Srirangam) again duly performed excellent worship. (Verse 2) Having carried Rangaraja, the Lord of the World, from the slope of the Vrishabagiri (mountain) to his capital (Chenchi), having slain by his army the proud Tulushka soldiers having made the site of Sriranga united with the golden age (Krita yuga), and having placed there this (God) together with Lakshmi and the earth, - the Brahmana Gopana duly performs like the lotus-born (Brahma) the worship which has to be practiced”. The Koil-Olugu quotes this inscription and says that Gopana, who was one of the officers of Harihararaya (Harihara II), with his residence at Cenci or Gingee (South Arcot district), once came to Tirupati, where the images of the God and the Goddess of Srirangam had been kept for safety. This general, who was a

Brahmana, took the images to Singapuram near Gingee, where he housed them in the local shrine for sometime. Narasimhadeva alias Singappiran, who was playing the part of the agent of the Muslims at Srirangam, watched the development carefully and opened secret negotiations with Gopana at Singapuram. Thus apprised of the strength of the Muslim garrison at Kannanur Gopana came with a large force and inflicted severe defeat on the Muslims (i.e. the army of Alauddin Sikander Shah, the last Sultan of Madurai).3 (According to the Prapannamritam Sriranganatha appeared to Gopana in a dream and exhorted him to strike against the Muslims and restore Him to Srirangam.) Perhaps a great battle, of which we have no account, was fought at Kannanur and this Muslim stronghold of Ma’bar was wrested once for all from the hands of the enemy. Gopana brought the images from Singapuram and reinstalled them in Srirangam on the 17th of Vaikasi in the year Paridap, S.1293. This corresponds with Virodhakrit and not Paridapi and 17th of Vaikasi S.1293 is equivalent to 13th of May 1371. On this day, says the inscription, “Gopanarya, the mirror of fame, placing Ranganatha together with Laksmi and the Earth (Sri and Bhu in His own town (Srirangam) again duly performed excellent worship”. According to the Prapannamritam the verses in the inscription were composed by Vedantadesika, who returned to Srirangam from his exile and witnessed in great delight the reconsecration of the images. The Guruparamparai says that Vedantadesika breathed his last in Kali 4470 or A.D.1368. Laying too much emphasis on the traditional dates (which credit Desika with a life of 100 years, i.e., from Kali 4370 to Kali 4470) some scholars have come forward to question the date of this inscription, may the validity of the epigraph itself, which is said to be unusual in character; Vedantadesika, who died in 1368, we are told, could not have witnessed the reconsecration and composed the verses in praise of Gopana in 1371. Hence the restoration of the temple must have taken place sometime before 1369.4 (JBbRAS.XXIV. p.308 n.2) Clearly it is too much to question the inscription and its date on the basis of tradition. Either Vedantadesika did not compose the verses or he died sometime after 1371. The latter is the more probable alternative. Subsequent to the restoration Vedantadesika settled, according to tradition, once again in Srirangam and spent a few years in peaceful religious activity before his death, during which period he wrote his famous Rahasyatrayasara, elaborately explaining the doctrine of self-surrender. For the sake of convenience we may assume that Vedantadesika died in 1380; and sticking to tradition, which credits him with a hundred years, his life may be said to have extended from 1280 to 1380. The Jaimini Bharatamu, the Saluvabhyudayam and the Ramabhyudayam

mention Saluva Mangu or Mangi in connection with the restoration of the Srirangam temple.5 (The first is a Telugu work by Pillalamarri Pinavirabhadra, while the second and the third are Sankskrit works, respectively by Rajanatha Dindima and Saluva Narasimha.) Saluva Mangu was the chief among the ancestors of Saluva Narasimha, the first king of the Saluva or the second dynasty of Vijayanagar. According to the first work Mangu is said to have defeated and killed the Sultan of Madurai in battle and to have established the God of Srirangam in His temple. On the latter occasion he is said to have presented to the God 60,000 madas of Gold.6 (Dr.S.K.Aiyangar, Sources p.29.) According to the other two works Saluva Mangu is said to have made a gift to the Srirangam temple of 1,000 salagramas and eight villages to represent the eight syllables of the astaksara and to have earned the name of the “establisher of Sriranga.”7 (Ibid., pp.30-31, 32.) The inscription mentions only Gopana while the works mentioned above refer to Mangu. As a matter of fact both were generals under Kampana, the son of Bukka.8 (Ibid. p.29 and p.35.) The literary works make exclusive references to Saluva Mangu because they are all dedicated to the members of the Saluva dynasty. The Koil-Olugu mentions Gopana Udayar and Gundu Saluva Aiyar (Saluva Gunda) as the munificent benefactors of the temple on the occasion of its restoration. Gopana udayar is said to have donated to the temple, through Uttamanambi, 52 villages at an expense of 17,000 gold pieces. Gundu Saluva Aiyar, who came with him erected a flag-staff of bell-metal in the Aniyarangan court-yard in the place of the old gold flagstaff that had been established by Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I and which was destroyed by the Muslims.9 (KO.p.13536.) There were several Gundas in the Saluva family and it is highly probable that the Gundu Saluva Aiyar of the Olugu was Gunda, the elder brother of Saluva Mangu.10 (Sources, p.32.) It is quite likely that Gopana, Saluva Mangu and his brother Saluva Gunda were present at the ceremonies of reconsecration of the temple and made several gifts. The restoration of the Srirangam temple see the seal, as it were, upon the liberation of the Tamil country from the Muslim yoke. In 1372-73 Kampana II occupied Kannanur and an inscription of his dated 1372 from the Poysalesvara temple says that the shrine was demolished upto the adharasilai (adhistana or base stone) and converted into a mosque by the Muslims during the period of their occupation and that after Kampana’s conquest this temple was reopened for worship.11 (162 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 51.) An inscription in the Srirangam temple dated 1373 registers gift of a Kalmatha to Pradhani Vitthappar, son of Apparaju of the Bharadwaja gotra, for having recovered certain lands and rendered other help to the temple.12 (47 of 1938-39.) Another inscription,

says that this Vithappa formed a pasture land for the temple near the Yoga Narasimha Shrine.13 (48 of 1938-39.)

The Re-organisation of the Temple
The complete reduction of the Muslim power at the hands of the generals of Kampana II left the Srirangam temple free but much more remained to be done before the temple could once more function as a selfsupporting institution. Worship had practically ceased; there was a dispersal of the literatures and officers of the temple; many structures had suffered wanton destruction; gold plates covering pillars, walls and vimanas had been peeled off and golden idols carried away; the temple treasury and granaries had been emptied and the jewels and valuable plundered; and more than all the temple was reduced to a state of wretchedness and poverty, all the devadana lands having been overrun. The two inscriptions referred to above just provide an indication of the problem of recovering the temple lands. The first task that had to be faced by the stalattar of the temple was the collection of funds in cash and kind from various benefactors. The temple, in short, had to be given a new life. The officers of the temple who rose to the occasion and managed its affairs with credit were the Uttamanambis of Srirangam, who as wardens of the temple, built up close connections with the court of Vijayanagar. The constitution of a new committee to appoint persons to look after the property of the temple is mentioned in an inscription on the south wall of the second prakara. Engraved in Tamil characters of the 14th century it may be assigned to this period. Without mentioning any names it purports to be an order issued by God Ranganatha directing a council of 23 members 10 selected out of the 10 kottus or groups of temple servants, 4 from the sanyasins and the desantris, 5 representing the 18 mandalas and 4 representing the Cera, Cola, and Pandya kings and the Ksatriyas of the north - to appoint Sanyasins versed in Vaisnava lore and with the interests of the temple at heart, to look after the properties of the temple situated in several places, with provision made for their maintenance. Armed Velaikaras were placed at their disposal to help them in the discharge of their duties.14 (51 of 1938-39; pt.II para 71. ‘Sanyasis well versed in Vaisna lore’ refers to Vaisnava Acaryas, who, it was expected, would command respect and act disinterestedly ‘Cera, Cola, Pandya kings and Ksatriyas of the north’ refers to the rulers of the period, in general.

Harihararaya II (1377-1404) and Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi (138397)

The Uttamanambis are one of the ancient and important families of Srirangam.15 (This is commemorated by the saying ur padi Uttamanambi padi meaning ‘the town is 50% and the Uttamanambis 50%’.) These are Brahmanas of the purvasikha sect and their name has for long been associated with the administration of the Srirangam temple. In their genealogy, the Uttamanambivamsa-prabhavam, they claim descent from Periyalvar, who migrated from Srivilliputtur to Srirangam, and trace a continuous succession. Much of the earlier part of this genealogy cannot be verified, but from the point of the Muslim invasions and the Vijayanagar restoration that followed, the chronicle becomes some-what dependable in details, which find corroboration in the Guruparamparai and the Koil-Olugu as well as in inscriptions. Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi (No.80 in the Vamsaprabhavam) is said to have invited Kampana II, the son of Bukka I, to pay a visit to the temple. Kampana, who was very much pleased with the sight of the God, made a donation of 16,000 gold pieces for acquiring Devadana lands, while his minister (pradhani) made another donation of 1,000 gold pieces for the same purpose. Both the gifts were handed over to Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi who purchased, with this amount, 62 villages for the temple. Here perhaps we get more details of the account, referred to above, of the Koil-Olugu about Gopanarya’s donation to the temple of 52 villages at a cost of 17,000 gold pieces. The Vamsaprabhavam says further that this Uttamanambi collected another sum of 5,000 gold pieces from Viruppana Udayar (younger brother of Harihara II and third son of Bukka I) and purchased with it 13 more villages for the temple. All this was done in one year, i.e., in 1371, the year of the restoration; for in 1372, it would appear, Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi went on a visit to the court of Vijayanagar. The Koil-Olugu, under the date S.1294 (A.D.1372) gives an interesting account of this visit.16 (KO. pp.136-38.) Soon after the restoration there took place the characteristic dispute over the preferential tirtha honours between the Kandadais, who were the descendents of Mudaliyandan, and the occupant of the newly created office of Sriranganarayana Jiyar. The Durgadipati or the agent of the Raya of Vijayanagar (i.e. Saluva Gunda) is said to have encouraged the Jiyar to the detriment of the hereditary rights of the Kandadaiyar. The latter sought the interference of Gopana at Cenji but it was all in vain. Kandadaiyar then requested the Uttamanambi to go to Vijayanagar and lay his case before the Raya. At the same time the cultivators considerably worried over the question of and obtaining royal recognition of their agreed to proceed to Vijayanagar on both of the temple lands were also submitting accounts to the Raya hereditary rights. Uttamanambi these counts, i.e., on behalf of

the Kandadaiyar as well as the cultivators. No details of his interview with the Raya are furnished. The Annan Tirumaligai Olugu simply says that he obtained for Kandadai Tolappa supreme control over the temple. When he went to Vijayanagar again, after a few years, he was commanded by Viruppana Udayar to erect a tulapurusamantapa in the temple to the east of the flagstaff. After this mantapa was built the latter came to Srirangam and performed the rulapurusa ceremony. Harihararaya too is said to have performed such a ceremony. These luxurious donations yielded a large amount of gold and with its help the Sriranga vimana was once again restored to its pristine dignity. It was covered with gold plates and adorned with nine gold kalasas. According to an inscription Krisnarayakavi (same as Krishnaraya Uttamanambi) gave to God Ranganatha gold ornaments, utensils, etc., and made endowments for special festivals. He also provided for the God vehicles, various mantapas, gopuras and large gardens. He constructed broad beautiful streets. He was protecting Rangaraja-nagari just as the city of Madhura by the descendant of Yadu.17 (South Indian Temple Inscription (Madras Government Oriental series), Vol.III, pt.II, Inscription No.1269, p.No.1300.) This member of the Uttamanambi family, thus, did much to restore the glory of the temple and paved the way for further work by his more famous son. Incidentally it is to be noted that this inscription refers to him as a kavi. Tirumaladhisa, the author of the Laksmikavya, was his great grandson. There are several inscriptions of Viruppana Udayar (or Virupaksa II), the second son of Harihara II, in the Srirangam temple ranging between the dates 1383 and 1396.18 (88 of 1937-38, Pt.II, para 60; 72, 76, 77, 87, 88, 153 and 154 of 1938-39; Pt.II, para 42 and 187 of 1951-52. ‘Viruppana’ or ‘Virupanna’ appears to be a variant of the Sanskrit form of Virupaksa, who was appointed viceroy of the Tamil country by Harihara II. (Virupanna or Virupaksa I, a son of Bukka I, was a governor Penukonda during his father’s reign 1356-77). See table, Historical Inscriptions of South India, R.Sewell and S.K.Aiyangar, p.400) A record dated in the former year registers a gift of cows for lighting a ghee lamp by Somanathadeva, son of Vittappa, a pradhani of the prince. An undated inscription in Sanskrit carved on the Capitals of two pillars in the mukhamantapa of the Cakrattalvar shrine states that he constructed the vimana, gopura and mantapa for god Cakrin and that he made a further gift of the village Paccil. Another inscription dated 1385 registers a gift of cows for the supply of milk to the Ranganatha temple by Devaraja, son of Sangamamatya or Sangamarasa, another pradhani of the prince, who was appointed the governor of the Tamil country. According to another record

the same donor provided for a lamp too. Yet another officer of the prince was Mantri Muddarasa of the Kasyapa gotra, who is said to have made a gift of land for a flower garden and in addition a gift of 20 cows for a perpetual lamp. An inscription dated 1390 registers the gift of 30 cows and a perpetual lamp by Annappa Udaiyar Chaundappa, son of Vithappa of Vatsa gotra. The latest record in this series, dated 1396 states that Annappar Chaundappa, son of Vittapangal of the Srivatsa gotra of Jaula in Veluvaladesa (Belvola) (same as the donor in the above record) made for the god a tiruvasigai (aureola), repaired the 1,000 pillared mantapa and consecrated Vitthala therein, gilded the vimana of the central shrine (Koyilalvar) and provided for offerings and worship to the God. These records make it clear that Virupaksa took an active interest in the restoration of the Srirangam temple. The Koil-Olugu says that the dhvajarohona ceremony of the Cittirai festival was conducted in the name of Viruppana, who “enabled the people coming from all parts of the country to visit the long missed Perumal and to obtain seva.”19 (KO. p.138.) The association of Viruppana with the Cittirai festival has survived and the festival is even today called the Viruppan tirunal. The Olugu also says that he built the shrine of Sudarsana Perumal and installed an image of Narasimha therein, but gives the date 1444 which must be wrong.20 (Ibid.; p.149.) After Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi Vedacarya Bhatta, a son of Srutaprakasikacarya (i.e., Sudarsanacarya), is said to have


administered the temple from Isvara to Vikrama (A.D. 1397-1401). His high handedness and mismanagement led to the interference of the Raya, who sent one Timmaraja to remove Vedacarya Bhatta from office and install Mainilaiyitta Uttamanambi in his stead. Vedacarya Bhatta is said to have appropriated to himself the control over the shrine of Udayavar in the Srirangam temple; this he managed to keep with himself by coming to an understanding with Timmaraja and Uttamanambi in the year Vikari (A.D.1419).21 (Ibid. pp.143-45.)

Inscriptions of Bukka II (1405-1406) and Devaraya I (1406-1422)
An inscription of Bukka II in the Srirangam temple dated 1405 registers a gift of some land, cows and a silver salver by Sivandelundan Samantanar, who it is known, was the officer of Bukka II, in charge of the Trichinopoly region. The gifts were for providing offerings to the God of Srirangam. Another record mentions Devaraya I as king.22 (86 of 1937-38; pt. II, para 61; 60 of 1938-39, pt.II, para 43.) It consists of three Sanskrit verses. The first extols the king, playing a pun on the names of

the cyclic years. “Having become king in Parthiva and destroyed his enemies in Vyaya Devaraya would become all conquering (Sarvajit) and all-supporting (Sarvadhari)”. The second verse states that Uttamanambi got from Devaraya a pearl umbrella, a big kahala, a pair of dipikas or lamp stands, bhadrasana or throne and similar royal emblems as honours evidently on behalf of the temple. The third verse states that in the cyclic year Manmatha 1415 an image of Garuda was consecrated by Cakraraya, the brother of Uttamanambi. The Koil-Olugu says that Cakraraya recast the copper sannidhi Garuda, which had been destroyed during the Muslim occupation and installed it in the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa.23 (KO.p.157.) Another record in the temple dated 1409 mentions Mahamandalesvara Vira Bhupati Udayar (son of Bukka II and grandson of Harihara II) as the donor. It states that as his gift of 80 pon for conducting a 9 day festival to God Ranganatha in his own name, ending on the day of his natal star punarpusam in the month of Tai, was found insufficient he increased it by another gift of 55 pon and left the conduct of the charity in charge of Uttamanambi.24 (59 of 1938-39.) This Uttamanambi was Valiyadimai-nilaiyitta Uttamanambi, son of Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi. An inscription dated 1410 registers gift of land, house-site and a portion of the offered food of the temple to Ellayar, son of Sangamadeva of Kasmiradesam and of the Gautama gotra as Yainopavitakkani (i.e., for the supply of Yajnopavitas).25 (71 of 1938-39.) The next record, a copper-plate grant, dated 1414 registers the grant of the village Naruvuru (Nerur in Karur Taluk, Thiruchirapalli district) to Uttamanambi, the sthanika of the Ranganatha temple by Harihararaya Odeya (son of Virapratapa Devaraya I), who was the viceroy of a part of the present day Coimbatore district with headquarters at Cevurakota (Sevur in Palladam Taluk, Coimbatore district).26 (C.P.No.27 of 1935-6; EI. XVI, pp.222-23.) This village was originally granted to one Appannagalu, but only a few days later the donee seems to have handed over the management of the donation to Uttamanambi, a person who was intimately connected with the Srirangam temple and hence could manage the charity more advantageously. It was stipulated in the grant that Uttamanambi, the transferee, was to hold a subordinate position (ediridu) to Appannagalu, the transferor, with reference to the grant. According to the deed of gift to Uttamanambi the village of Naruvuru was to be christened Ranganathapura; a daily service to God Ranganatha with the full round of offerings of foods, waving camphor lights, sandal paste, flower garland, incense, etc., was to be instituted, a flower-garden of the extent of 120 kulis of land was to be cultivated and garlands supplied for the special service known as

Padinettampadi-servai; a cattra or choultry was to be constructed within the premises of the Srirangam temple and twelve Brahmanas fed daily therein with rice, dhal, ghee, four vegetable curries, butter milk, together with betal-leaves and nuts; and eight Brahmanas in the village of Naruvuru were to be given each four ma of wet land rent free. The Uttamanambi of this record is undoubtedly the same as Valiyadimanilaiyitta Perumal Uttamanambi, who was the warden of the Srirangam temple between the years 1407 and 1450. An inscription dated 1420 registers gift of 4 velis of land Melmuri-Mavadumangalam in Malainadu by Madhavadasa, pradhanaMallanam of Candragiri, to meet the expenses of offerings immediately after the early morning service everyday to God Ranganatha. It also registers gift of 30 cows for maintaining a perpetual lamp by the same person. The last in the series is dated 1422. The donor is Vijaya-Bhupatiraya-Maharaya (second son of Devaraya I and father of Devaraya II, whoseems to have reigned for a few months). The epigraph registers his gift of the village Kumarakkudi, in Malai-nadu, a sub-division of Rajaraja valanadu, on the northern bank (of the Kaveri) as a dandikai-jivita to Uttamanambi.27 (53 of 1938-39).

Inscriptions of Devaraya II 1422-1446: Uttamanambi and Cakraraya: The Great age of Re-organisation and Prosperity.
Several inscriptions of Devaraya II in the Srirangam temple testify to its growing prosperity under royal patronage. The earliest of these, a copper-plate grant, dated 1427 registers the grant by Devaraya II of the villages, Pandamangalam, Tirunalur and Seranaivenraperumanallur in the Rajaghambiravalanadu (i.e., south of the Kaveri) and Sunepuhanalur in the Rarajavalanadu (i.e., north of the Kaveri), made to the temple of Ranganatha on the Utthanadvadasi tithi in the bright half of the month of Karthikai in the year Plavanga.28 (EI XVII, pp.110 ff.) This grant was an auxiliary to the Go-sahasra mahadana or ‘gift of a 1,000 cows’. Out of the income from these villages, viz., 1,823 kulagadyanas, 12 perpetual lamps were to be burnt, flower-garlands supplied and one festival celebrated. This donation, it may be supposed, was handed over to the charge of Uttamanambi, though the name is not mentioned in the grant. An inscription in the temple dated 1429 registers gift of a village Hasti Colendramangalam disciple of Ramacandra Saraswati for the offering to Sriranganatha of food in six gold vessels, offering garlands, etc.29 (55 of 1938-39; also S.I.Temple Inscriptions II, pp.734-35.) About half-a-dozen inscriptions of Devaraya II at Srirangam mention

Uttamanambi and his brother Cakraraya.30 (ARE 1937-38; pt.II, para 63 and ARE 1938-39; pt.II, para 45.) A set of his copper plates dated 1434 register the grant by the king of the villages of Naccikkuricci, Tiruvaranganallur and Ramanarayananallur in the Rajaghambira-valanadu, and Kumarakkudi and Rajanarayananallur to Valiyadimai-nilaiyitta Perumal Uttamanambi, son of Uttamanambi, the Sthanapathi of the Srirangam temple. With the help of the income from the villages Uttamanambi was to conduct the daily worship of the God.31 (EI.XVIII, pp.138 ff.) A stone inscription of this king records the gift of the villages of Sundekkayi, Kovattakkudi, Todeyur and Karugule to Uttamanambi and his brother Cakraraya, for a service instituted in his own name.32 (121 of 1937-38.) Another registers a royal order issued to Chaudappa granting two villages to Uttamanambi for conducting worship.33 (119 of 1937-38.) Another inscription states that Uttamanambi was the recipient of the presents of a pearl-umbrella, a pair of kahalas (blow-pies) and of dipikas, a golden vessel and an ivory shielf from the king Praudha-Devaraya.34 (84 of 1937-38) It was mentioned above that he had received similar gifts from Devaraya I as well. Cakraraya is said to have constructed a portion of the Perumaltolantirumantapa in the west verandah of the third prakara of the temple, cleared the jungle to the east of the temple and established a colony in the precincts of the shrine of Alagiyasinga (kattalagiyasingar), built a mantapa in front of the shrine of Annamurti, and installed an image of Hanuman in a mantapa nearby, and the image of Laksmi in a porch which he erected near the temple kitchen.35 (80 and 82 of 1937-38; pt.II, para 63.) He is also credited with the installation of the Dasavatara images in a temple on the southern bank of the Coleroon in Srirangam in 1438.36 (83 of 1937-38) An undated record says that Cakraraya presented eight elephants to God Ranganatha.37 (89 of 1937-38) Another undated record lists the several gifts made and services rendered by Cakraraya to the temple, such as a 1000 kalanju for a gold dish, consecration of the image of Garudalvar, a 1000 kalanju of gold for the pedestal of the Goddess, a similar sum for a gold lamp-stand, a golden pot worth a 1,000 kalanju of gold, a pearl garment, a gold platter (vattil) and pedestal from again a 1,000 kalanju of gold.38 (50 of 1937-38) The cyclic years quoted in this record, i.e. from Krodhi to Saumya, when the gifts were made severally, have to be equated with the period 1424-1429. The Koil-Olugu and the Laksmikavyam speak of Uttamanambi or Uttamaraya and Cakraraya, who did much to enrich the Srirangam temple with the help of the Vijayanagar kings. Valivadimai-nilaiyitta (meaning ‘he who established his title as the hereditary servant of God’, a rendering in

who established his title as the hereditary servant of God’, a rendering in Tamil of the Sanskrit Vamsa-krama mula-bhritya, which occurs in the Laksmikavya) Uttamanambi is identifical with Srirangacarya Uttamanambi of the Vamsaprabhavam, the son of Periya Krisnarayar Uttamanambi.39 (No.81 in the list.) His other titles mentioned in the Koil-Olugu are Meinilaiyitta (i.e. ‘he who established the truth, probably this has reference to his part in the reorganisation of the temple with the help of Rayas) and Ellaikkarainilaiyitt (i.e. ‘he who established the boundary’ - between Srirangam and Jambukesvaram). According to the Laksmikavyam Uttamaraya (Uttamanambi) possessed royal insignia and managed the affairs of the temple. This, it was seen, is attested by inscriptions. From the Kavya it is also known that he had two brothers Cakraraya and Timmaraya, the latter of whom renounced the wordly life and became an ascetic. Tirumaladhisa, the author of the Kavya, was the grandson of Uttamaraya.40 (EI XVIII, p.139.) Both the Vamsaprabhavam and the Koil-Olugu say that this famous member of the family of the Uttamanambis was the warden of the Srirangam temple for 44 years, between the cyclic years Sarvajit and Pramoduta, i.e., from 1407 to 1450. The inscriptions mentioning this Uttamanambi and his brother Cakraraya range between these two dates. The Olugu says that in 1421 Ellaikkarai-nilaiyitta Uttamanambi went to Vijayanagar, please Devaraya II (Pratapadeva Maharaya, who witnessed the ‘elephant-hunt’, gajavettai) by playing with him and winning games of caturanga and obtained from him various presents for himself, and the name of Raya, a separate mutt and seal and various privileges in the temple for his brother Cakraraya. “Under the orders of the Raya the two mutts were made distinct from each other …. Reaching Srirangam he inspected the villages attached to the temple. Thus did he swell the glory of Srirangam a hundred fold. IN collaboration with the Jiyars, the Srivaisnavas, the ekangis and the Acaryapurusas he maintained the established order of things without any slip and enjoyed the title of ‘Raya and the appropriate birudas. Placing himself, at the head of the group of the ‘Tiruppatiyar’ - the Koavanavar - he received the presents due to him, while he obtained for his brother, the right of receiving the presents due to the Senapati Durantara from the Raya. This state of prosperity continued for both of them without diminution, in the two respective mutts”. He is also said to have obtained a 100 villages from many persons for the temple.41 (KO. pp.146-47 and p.155.) The Olugu attributes to Cakraraya most of the repairs of damages caused to various parts of the temple as a consequence of the Muslim raids and occupation, like the shrines of Nammalvar and Srivaraha Nainar, and the Aryabhattal gateway.42 (Ibid., pp.152-53 and 157-58.) The Olugu as well as the Uttamanambi Vamsaprabhavam quote an inscription and say that in the year

Manmatha (1415) he had the ‘Sannidhi Garudan’ cast and installed in the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa. Valiyadimai-nilaiyitta Uttamanambi too is credited with some repairs of damages to the temple caused by the Muslim occupation.43 (Ibid., pp.156-57.)

Officers and petty chiefs: Benefactors of the temple
An inscription in the Srirangam temple dated 1433 registers a gift of the villages, Kodiyalam and Sirudavur, to Uttamanambi by (Anna) Chaudapa, son of Adityadeva of the Vasista gotra, for conducting a car festival in the temple on the day of Uttiradam, the natal star of the donor’s father. An elephant was also presented to the temple for service during the same festival.44 (7 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 45.) An incomplete record mentions Annadata Dannayaka Udaiyar of the Harita gotra as the donor of land in Uruttava-Bemmanahalli alias Srirangarajapuram in Mukkunra-nadu, a subdivision of Perungondai-rajya for a service called after the donor.45 (7 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 45.) Another inscription refers to a certain Annappamantri, whose son, Sripati, is said to have constructed a window (dvara) to the pinnacle (valabhi) of the vimana of the temple.46 (57 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 45.) Though Annadata Udaiyar and Annappa-amantri cannot be identified they may provisionally be assigned to the period round about Devaraja II. The Koil-Olugu refers to Anna Chaudapa as Anna Andappa Udaiyar and says, evidently with reference to the inscription mentioned above, that he conducted the dvajarohana of the car festival on the day of the Uttirattadi, the natal star of Adityadeva, in the month of Purattasi of Paridapi (1433), in the Trivikraman enclosure and, for its expenses endowed the village of Kodiyalam.47 (KO.p.154, The inscription mentions the next year Pramadi.) Eleven years later, in Rutrotkari 1444 Annappa Udaiyar is said to have conducted the Kedakkuli-tirunal (festival of sporting in water) of the Vasantotsava and endowed the village of Mallidevan-puttur for its expenses. In the same year (Rutrotkari) he is also said to have constructed the wall of Adayavalaindan enclosure (i.e. the street surrounding the temple) and the base of the gateway and gopura.48 (Ibid., pp.154-55, 156; The Saka date viz., 1385, seems to be wrong.) This Annappa Udaiyar or Anna Chaundappa Udaiyar may be identified with the person of the same name mentioned in an undated record at Jambukesvaram and assigned to 1436 by an inscription at Mummudisolamangalam (Lalgudi Taluk, Thiruchirapalli district.)49 (134 of 1936-37, 143 of 1938-39.) In S.1354, Paridapi, (A.D.1432) a certain Dennayakkar, with the

In S.1354, Paridapi, (A.D.1432) a certain Dennayakkar, with the title Daksinasamudradipati is said to have provided for the building of a shrine for Hanumantadeva and the installation of His image therein, by endowing to the temple the village of Kilpattu-puttur.50 (KO. 153.) The reference is obviously to Lakkanna Dandanayakka, the governor of Madurai under Devaraya II. When this shrine was made over to the Randadaiyar (probably Koil Kandadai Annan) the latter’s disciple, Narnsingadasan, constructed a mukhamantapa for that shrine and consecrated an image of Tiruppan Alvar therein.51 (Ibid.)

High-handedness of the Revenue collecting officers
Provincial government, in the Vijayanagar empire, was well organised, and the different local divisions were left in charge of governors, who, it would appear, enjoyed considerable freedom. In a few instances it is known that the tax collecting officers, who were appointed by the emperor to assist the governors, oppressed the people and their religious institutions. For example an inscription of Devaraja II from Jambukesvaram, dated in the cyclic year Plavanga (1427) states that the Mahesvaras of the Saiva temple and one Marudavana Sivan brought to the notice of the Raya the excessive demands made by the adhikaris and senai-bovas in the shape of jodi and kanikkai for choutries and other levies, over and above the vibhutikanikkai due to the king, in the sarvamanya lands belonging to the Saiva and Vaisnava temples in the Tiruccirapalli, Solamandalam and Valudilampattu rajyas, and that as a result of this oppression the cultivators of the devadana lands threw up their holdings and migrated elsewhere thus jeopardising the conduct of worship in the temple.52 (113 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 56.) Three persons connected with the Srirangam temple sacrificed their lives by casting themselves down from a gopura in 1489 as a protest against the excessive taxation and persecution of the temple. We hear of similar examples of oppression in later years too. ON a petition of the people complaining against these new levies, in this case, the Raya sent an order to his officer to the effect that no tax other than vibhutikanikkai due to the king (like angasalaigal, vetti, vekali kaduvetta and amanji) was due to be imposed on the devadana lands, and that the income from these lands after the payment of the legitimate tax was to be enjoyed by the respective temples, whose Mahesvaras and sthanikas were to be left free with the conduct of worship, the performance of services and the celebration of festivals. To enforce this order two agents (taravukkarar), Bukka and Timma, were sent by the king to the south. The exacting officer figuring in this inscription is Sirupparasar, who is mentioned elsewhere as the governor of Padaivittu-rajya. He is mentioned in an epigraph in the

Srirangam temple dated 1444 as the father of Vitthanan, who is said to have built the big car pavilion (ter mantapam) of the Srirangam temple.53 (96 of 1936-37.) THE SETTLEMENT OF A BOUNDARY DISPUTE BETWEEN SRIRANGAM AND JAMBUKESVARAM The allied local chronicles, viz., the Koil-Olugu, the Uttamanambivamsaprabhavam, and the Sriranganarayana Jiyar Guruparamparai make prominent mention of a boundary dispute between the Srirangam and Jambukesvaram temples and how it was resolved by umpires from Vijayanagara. It was the immemorial custom for the Ranganatha image to be taken, on the eighth day of the Panguni-uttiram festival, from a point on the northern bank of the Kaveri to a mantapa in the garden of Tirumangaimannan on the southern bank of the Coleroon along an imaginary boundary line running from the south to the north between the adjacent Vaisnava and Saiva temples. This ceremony of the ‘eighth day’ (ettam tirunal) is described in the Laksmi kavyam. From the Koil-Olugu it is known that the God used to be taken, in the course of this procession along the boundary line, into Tiruvanaikkaval or Jambukesvaram and His feet washed in the tank there (Jambutirtham). After this short break the procession to the garden of Tirumangaimannan was resumed. It would appear that the Saivas of Jambukesvaram resented this intrusion; and this state of hostility resulted ultimately in an armed attack on the one side and a terrible retaliation on the other. The Saivas, who seem to have had the worse of the conflict, immediately proceeded to Vijayanagar to plead their case. From Srirangam Uttamanambi, the Jiyar and a few others went to Vijayanagar to represent the Vaisnavas. The Raya heard the complaints on either side and sent along with Uttamanambi to Srirangam “his guru Vyasa Udayar, Gopala Udayar and Raghu Udayar” as arbitrators.54 (KO p.140.) Under their supervision Uttamanambi “ran” (along) the boundary “starting from the fourpillared mantapa with the two tiruvali (cakra) stones on the bank of the southern kaveri”, and boundary stones were fixed in his tract.55 (Ibid., p.141 for details) The new boundary was laid north-south to the west of the Jambutirtham, which was thus declared to be outside the area of Srirangam. The Saivites were pacified. “From that time”, says the Olugu. “the Perumal is taken to the boundary on the eighth day not to the east (i.e., Jambukesvaram)”. The chronicle of the Srirangam temple obviously tries to give credit to the Uttamanambi for having given up the claim to the Jambutirtham voluntarily with a view to assuage the feelings of the Saivas. It is more likely that the decisions was forced upon him by the mediating

matadiparis. The Koil-Olugu assigns the dispute to S.1297 Nala, or A.D.1376 and says that the Uttamanambi, who was instrumental in settling the dispute was Periya Krisnaraya Uttamanambi. Between him and Valiyadimai Nilaiyitta Uttamanambi the Olugu makes no difference,56 (Ibid. p.142.) Where as the Uttamanambi Vamsaprabhavam makes the latter the son of the former. According to both the accounts Valiyadimai Nilaiyitta or Ellaikkarai Nilaiyitta Uttamanambi was active on behalf of the temple from 1405 to 1450. Even the Olugu gives certain details which prove beyond doubt that this Uttamanambi and Periya Krisnaraya were different, e.g., it assigns to the latter the period between Rutrotkari and Isvara (i.e.1383-97) and to the former the period Sarvajit to Pramoduta (i.e.1407-50).57 (Ibid. pp.150 and 155.) In a different context it says that a boundary wall between Srirangam and Kilaiyur (Jambukesvaram) was erected by Uttamanambi in S.1355 or A.D.1433.58 (Ibid. p.154.) This must be Ellaikkarai-nilaiyitta Uttamanambi, whose very name indicates that he was the one who established the boundary. Now according to the Olugu, a wall was built in 1433 while sometime earlier boundary stones were fixed. The occasion was provided by a bull, which is said to have escaped from Jambukesvaram and “caused considerable damage to the gardens” in Velittirumuttam (open yard) in Srirangam. “Unable to bear this the ekangis handled it severely as a result of which considerable enmity arose between the people of Kilaiyur and those of this shrine. In S.1355, Paridapi, Uttamanambi pacified both parties and built the boundary wall.”59 (According to a Madhwa tradition Vyasaraya (1478-1539), the minister and guru of Krishnadeva Raya (150930), arbitrated in the boundary dispute and established a common boundary line. This goes against the evidence furnished by the local chronicles.) THE RELIGIOUS LUMINARIES OF THE DAY: MANAVALA MAHAMUNI AND THE ASTADIGGAJAS Vedantadesika lived, taught and wrote in the turbulent and anxious days of the Muslim invasions; he had to flee for his life and suffer an exile torn away from the abode of his heart, but happily he was able to witness, in his last days, the liberation of the Srirangam temple. His death almost coincided with the birth of Manavala Mahamuni, who had all the blessings of peace for the propagation of his creed. In the years succeeding the restoration of the temple again, we witness the same process of potential conflict between the Bhasya and the prabanda schools working itself out, without the effort of the parties and perhaps even without their knowledge.

Both Vedantadesika and Manavala Mahamuni have to be exempted from the stigma of partisanship and secretarianism though, in course of time, they came to be looked upon as the heads of the two rival creeds of Vaisnavism. It is worthy of note that Manavala Mahamuni quotes freely from the works of Vedantadesika. Manavala Mahamuni was born in October, 1370 (in the month of Aippasi of the cyclic year Sadarana, Kali 4461) in Alvar Tirunagari. His father was called Tadarannaraiyar and his mother Annardevigal. As a student of Tiruvaimolippillai he acquired a remarkable mastery over the subject of the Divyaprabandas. He lost his father after his marriage and erelong migrated to Srirangam, visiting the holy shrines of Srivilliputtur, Tirumalirumsolai, etc., that lay on his route. In the course of his stay in Tirunagari he wrote the Yatiraja-vimsati in praise of Ramanuja. The KoilOlugu says that in S.1347 or A.D.1425 Manavala Mahamuni had established himself in Srirangam as Periya Jiyar, favoured with the grace of the Perumal. The Annan Tirumaligai Olugu gives the date S.1327 (A.D.1405) for his visit to Srirangam. It is said that Uttamanambi, who erred in the proper execution of his administrative duties connected with the temple, was corrected by Manavala Mahamuni. Uttamanambi took the chastisement of Periya Jiyar in good spirits and became the fervetn disciple of the Jiyar. With a view to attain proficiency in the Sribhasya Manavala Mahamuni left Srirangam for Kanci, where he took lessons from Kidambi Nayanar. Thus equipping himself with both the Sanskrit and Tamil pravacanas he returned to Srirangam and settled down in the Pallavarayan mutt. He set himself to the task of tireless oral exposition of the Divyaprabandas and writing down commentaries on the works of Pillai Lokacarya. Under his supervision the lectures of Vadakkuttiruvidi Pillai on the Tiruvaimoli, which had been gathered into the famous ‘Idu 36,000’, were edited and published to the outside world. To this commentary he added a gloss called the Pramanattirattu. His other chief writings were a commentary on the Gita by name Tatparyadipam and a compendium of the teachings of the several Acaryas of the past, called Upadesaratnamalai. Eight chief disciples, known as the Astadiggajas adorned the mutt of Manavala Mahamuni; they were Vanamamalai Jiyar, Emberumanar Jiyar, Bhattarpiran Jiyar, Koil Kandadai Annan Erumbi Appa, Appillai Appillar and Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan. Of these Koil Kandadai Annan was a lineal descendant of Mudaliyandan, the manager of the Srirangam temple in the time of Ramanuja, 60 (The Annan Tirumaligai Olugu and the Koil-Olugu provide a genealogy of the Kandadais.). Mudaliyandan

Mudaliyandan (nephew and disciple of Ramanuja) Kandadai Andan Kandadai Tolappa Periya Varadacaryar1 (Periya Ayi) Chinna Varadacaryar (Cinnayi) Iyan Ramanujacarya (Vaduladesika)

Siddannar alias Deivangal Perumal Tolappar Srirangaraja Nathan Vaduladesika2 Narasimhadesika alias Periya Koil Kandadai Anna.3 1.who installed Karunarayana Jiyar in the gadi of Sriranganarayana Jiyar. 2. who managed the temple on the eve of the Muslim invasion of 1323. After the invasion the Kandadais are said to have left Srirangam. They returned during the administration of Elaikkarai-nilaiyitta Uttamanambi. 3. Perhaps an elder contemporary and disciple of Manavala Mahamuni. And Prativadi Bhayankaram Anna was a Sanskrit scholar of Conjivaram, learned in the Bhasya. The demise of Mahamuni is placed in S.1367 or A.D.1445. On the Vadakalai side the most important of the successors of Vedantadesika were Varadacarya alias Nainaracaryar, his own son, and Brahmatantra-svatantra Jiyar, one of his well-known sisyas. It is said that Prativadi Bhayankaram Anann, who was originally a disciple of Nainaracaryar, who was popularising the teachings of Vedantadesika in Srirangam, came into conflict with Manavala Mahamuni, but was reconciled to him later. With these personages the accounts in the Guruparampara is come to a close, and from this period onwards we have to reckon the rise of the mathas of the rival schools in which their sectarianism became more and more encrusted. MALLIKARJUNA (1446-1465) AND TIRUMALAINATHA UTTAMANAMBI There are a few inscriptions of Mallikarjuna in the Srirangam temple. One dated 1447 records an endowment made for offerings to God


dated 1447


an endowment




to God

Ranganatha in the names of 7 persons including Madanna Dannayaka (governor of Muluvayirajya), Sirupparasar (governor of Padaivittu-rajya), Hiriya Sirupparasa, Nagayamma and Ammakkamma.61 (33 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 46.) Another inscription dated in the next year 1448, registers gift of land for a garden called Etirajan-tottam for rearing flowers, coconut trees etc., for the use of the temple by Karanika Ponnambalanatha, son of Karanika Bharati Vitthanna of the Srivatsa gotra and left in charge of Uttamanambi. The next record dated 1456 registers gift of land by purchase by Korpura Malavaraya for rearing a garden for supply of vegetables and flowers to the God. While describing the boundaries of the gift land Nanmugan-gopuram, Akalankan tirumadil (wall) and Tirumangai Alvar tirumadil are mentioned.62 (92 of 1938-39.) A copper plate grant from Srirangam of Mallikarjuna dated S.1384 or A.1462 (Citrabhanu), in which he is called Immadi Devaraya and Immadi Praudhabhupati, registers a gift of the village Uttamaceri-kiliyur, near Srirangam belonging to the Ciricitampalli-rajya, to the God Sriranganatha. From the income of the village arrangements were to be made for the daily offering of six complete dishes of food for the God, the maintenance of a water-shed perpetually in front of the temple, and a feeding of 60 Vaisnavas daily in the Ramanujakutam (choultry) as well as three grand feedings, one in the month of phalguna and the other two in Dhanus.63 (C.P.No.28 of 1905-6; EI XVI, p.345.) The Koil-Olugu says that Tirumalainatha Uttamanambi, the author of the Laksmi Kavyam and a grandson of Valiyadimainilaiyitta Uttamanambi, proceeded to Vijayanagar and stayed in the court of the Raya from S.1366, Raktaksi (A.D.1444) to the following Prajotpati (A.D.1451). During this period, says the Olugu, he collected large endowments in cash and also received 22 villages as benefactions to the temple from Praudhadeva Raya, Mallikarjuna Raya and others. In the latter year he returned to Srirangam and made certain additions and effected a few repairs to the temple. He constructed the 100 pillared mantapa to the east of the Periyatirumantapa and performed therein the ceremony of the Sahasrakalasabhiseka for the God.64 (KO.p.159.) In S.1383 (A.D.1461) Mallikarjuna Raya removed the bronze flag-staff in the Aniyarangam courtyard, and replaced it by a copper one, which was covered with 102 gold plates containing the figures of the elephant, the lion etc., and upon which he erected a gold plated image of Garuda. The quantity of Gold expended on this occasion is said to be 1,600 palams.65 (Ibis., p.162.) THE PERIOD OF THE DECLINE OF THE FIRST DYNASTY:

VIRUPAKSA (1465-85): THE BROTHERS OF TIRUMALAINATHA UTTAMANAMBI Virupaksa (1465-85) was the successor of Mallikarjuna and the last ruler of the First Dynasty. In the days of these two rulers power at the centre had considerably weakend and this opportunity was taken good advantage of by external powers like the Gajapatis of Orissa and the Bahmani Sultans. The Eastern Ganga king Kapilesvara Gajapati (1435-70) declared a relentless war on the empire of Vijayanagar and before 1455 he over-ran large slices of the empire, viz., Rajahmundry, Kondavidu, Telangana, Udayagiri and parts of the Tamil country. The southern campaign is placed in 1463. Candragiri, Kanci; Paidavidu, Tiruvarur and Tiruccirapalli were overrun and a son of Kumara Hamvira, by name Kumara Kapilesvara Mahapatra was entrusted with the government of the conquered territories of the south. An inscription on the inner wall of the Aryabhattal gateway in the Srirangam temple dated 1464 specifically mentions this prince. It records the gift of a 1,000 cows by Daksina Kapilesvara Hambira-kumara Mahapatra for supply of ghee for lamp and milk to God Srirangaraja.66 (140 of 1938-39 Inscriptions found in several places in South India, particularly South Arcot district mention Oddian Galabai; Orissan invasion) sec.ARE, 1936-37, pt.II, para 59.) Another inscription in the temple dated 1471 refers to a garden called Mahapatran-toppu, evidently reminiscent of the sojourn of this Hambira at Srirangam. It registers gift of land, after purchase, by Pallikonda Perumal Karpura Malavarayar alias Alagiyamanavaladasar for providing flower garlands and coconuts to the temple and a further gift of four housesites, by purchase, for the supply musti-madukaram (alms). Two of the housesites were purchased from Uttamanambi. Among the boundaries of the land is mentioned a garden called Mahapatran-toppu.67 (62 of 1938-39) It is well known that the Orissan danger to empire of Vijayanagar was warded off by Saluva Narasimha, the governor of Candragiri. His Victories are described in detail by the Saluvabhyudayam of Rajanatha Dindima. The Kalinga army was defeated and Udayagiri captured. Then he turned south and passed though the shrines of Cidambaram, Kumbakonam Srirangam and Jambukesvaram. His march was continued upto Ramesvaram and all the kings in his track paid him homage. At Srirangam he is said to have made a shortstay and inquired into the administration of the endowments made by his ancestors. The growing power of the Saluvas is reflected by an incident mentioned

in the Koil-Olugu of a conflict between Saluva Tirumalairaja and a revenue collecting agent of the Raya (Mallikarjuna), by name Kamparaja. This Tirumalairaja was a cousin of Saluva Narasimha,68 (Saluva Narasimha was a son of Gunda III while Saluva Tirumalairaja was a son of Gopa and both were great Grandsons of Saluva Mangu.) and governor of the Thiruchirapalli region. The Olugu says, “when Kulitandal (i.e., land-revenue collector) Kamparaja came to Thiruchirapalli as the agent of the Raya, bearing the Rayamudra, Tirumalairaja said to him, ‘leave these territories to my jurisdiction’, upon which enmity arose between these two.’69 (KO.p.159.) As a result of this conflict, “all the inhabitants including the members of the sabha and the nadu of the northern and southern banks of the Kaveri deserted, in the month of Purattasi of the year Pramadi, S.1381 (September 1459), their villages and lived in the thousand pillared mantapa and other places for 12 years”. Ultimately, however, in S.1393, Kara (1471), the revenue collection in the region of Trichinopoly (Thiruchirapalli sirmai-tandal sirmai) passed definitely under the jurisdiction of Tirumalairaja and peace was established, when the cultivators returned to their respective villages. There are two inscriptions of this Saluva Tirumalairaja alias Gopa Timma, the patron of the poets Irattaiyar and Kalamegham, in the temples of Srirangam and Jambukesvaram,70 (59 of 1892; SII IV 506; 67 of 1903.) former dated in 1463 and the latter in the cyclic year Srimukha, i.e., 1453. The inscription in Srirangam registers that the incomes from the various temple lands in the Trichinopoly and other regions71 (According to this inscription the temple lands were situated in Tiruccirapalli-usavadi, Milainadu, Melamuri, Kilamuri, Amurnadu; Tenkarai Rajagambhira valanadu, Adiyamangalapparru, Vilavaradavilanadu; Vaialanadu, Tanjavur-sirmai, Manarpidinadu, Nittavinodavalanadu, Sriparanrakanadu, Vittaparru Venbanadu, Konadu, Tiruvarur Usauadi, Alagudiparru Jayangendasolavalanadu, Idaiyarrunadu and other Sirmais.) were to be enjoyed and the lands themselves managed, without any external interference, by the Sribhandara of the temple. It also records the gift of certain jewels to the god of Srirangam. The Koil-Olugu says that in the year Kara (A.D.1471) Saluva Tirumalairaja reconstructed the northern gopura and gateway in the Alinadan enclosure and also created a passage through the Alinadan wall (tattarai or tavuttarai vasal) leading into the veliyalagiyan (manalveli) and thence to the 1,000 pillared mantapa. From this date, it is said, that the procession of the god from the sanctum to the 1,000 pillared mantapa on the occasion of the Tiruvaimoli-tirunal passed through the new gateway. This benefactor is also said to have erected a pavilion of sandalwood, in the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa, upon its dais a capra (canopied platform for deity) and a couch

made of ivory for divine enjoyment. This is now called the sandana mantapam.72 (KO.p.164.) Regarding Kamparaja, the enemy of Tirumalairaja, the Olugu says that he recast the images of Ganga and Yamuna, the dvarapalikas of the deity Gopurangal Nayakan, that had been destroyed during the Muslim occupation.73 (Ibid., p.163.) After Saluva Tirumalairaja established his own right against the agent of the Raya in 1471 Tirumalainatha Uttamanambi is said to have reconstructed the shrine of Laksminarayana Perumal on the banks of the Punaga tirtam and to have offered a capra of ivory for the Perumal. On the night of the third day of a certain Panguni festival subsequent to that date, the Perumal, who was being taken in procession on the horse vehicle, it is said, was sheltered from rain in the threshold of the house of Uttamanambi, who worshipped the god along with his people and bequeathed all his property to the temple. From that year he provided for the Perumal being taken in a palanquin on the third day of the Panguni festival.74 (Ibid., pp.160-161.) In the last years of the first of Sangama dynasty of Vijayanagar the Srirangam temple was managed by the two brothers of Tirumalainatha Uttamanambi, viz., Krisnaraya Uttamanambi and Kudalsaravala Nainar. The former is said to have received in Plavanga, 1487, twenty villages from a certain Eramanji Timmappa Nayaka and others as endowments to the temple. He firmly reconstructed a paddy granary of the temple which had become old and dilapidated. In Virodhakrit, 1491, Kudalsaravala Nainar purchased a few villages for the temple and reconstructed the Rajamahendran gateway that had suffered during the Muslim occupation. ‘Kudalsaravala Nainar’ is a corruption of ‘Kudalcakravala Nainar Uttamanambi Pillai’, who figures with the significant title Ilandakalamedutta, i.e., ‘he who revived the past’, in an inscription in Srirangam.75 (Ibid., pp.161-162; 81 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 49; EI. XXIV, pp.90 ff.) In his time Srinivasa alias Sriranga Garudavahana Bhatta’ the son of alagiyamanavala Mangaladaraya, of the Bhattalkottu, who has been identified with the author of the Divyasuricaritam, is said to have reconstructed the Arogyasala, which had suffered damage as a result of the vanam (Tulukka-vanam, i.e., Muslim raid or occupation) and installed in it an image of Dhanvantri or the Divine Physician.76 (KO.pp.161-163.)


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Events of Today

Chapter 8



The effect of state-control upon the temple administration
The century and a half of rule of the members of the first (Sangama) dynasty (1350-1490) saw the restoration of the Srirangam temple from Muslim occupation as also the slow and gradual process of reorganisation under the aegis of a family of temple managers called the Uttamanambis, who proved to be the men of the moment. By their tireless activities a number of villages were added on to the Sribhandara and the temple became richer and richer. With the help of the numerous royal and private benefactors many of the damages that parts of the temple and suffered as a result of the Muslim raids and occupation for nearly half a century (1311 and 1323-1371) were repaired in course of time. The Uttamanambivamsaprabhavam records that the number of villages owned by the temple at this period was 292. Notwithstanding the reconsecration of the god Alagiyamanavalan and the restoration of worship in the temple by the early Vijayanagar chieftains in 1371 the chronicler in the Koil-Olugu feels sorry that the Hindu resurrectionists did not care to revive and maintain the code of regulations established by Udayavar, but carried on the administration of the temple under the immediate supervision of their own officers and agents, who disregarded the hereditary chiefs of the temple, like the decendants of Mudaliyandan, the nominee of Udayavar, and encouraged their own favourites and created some new offices. The local governors of the Vijayanagar empire, it is said, constantly interfered in the affairs of the temple as a result of which many headships arose leading to a considerable diversification of the temple groups and their services. Says the Olugu, “At the time when the Cera, Cola and Pandyan kingdoms were ruled over by a single king, and later on, when three different kings ruled over the three kingdoms, right up to the year S.1249, Aksya, kings refrained from ruling over the lands that had been granted to temples and Brahmanas, which were under the control of the Brahmanas themselves. The kings interfered only to investigate into misdeeds and punish wrongdoers. Afterwards, when the Muhammadans invaded the country and laid waste the endowments to temples and

Brahmanas, the Perumal, left Srirangam for various other shrines where He resided temporarily. On the 17th of Vaikasi in the year Paridapi S.1293, the Perumal returned to Srirangam. After this date all these kingdoms passed under the control of the Raya, the Narpati. The Raya and the various Durgadipatis gave many pieces of land back so the temple as gifts. They appointed their own men as accountants and superintendents of the temple as if it were an item of royal administration from the place. Therefore the code of Udayavar collapsed. From the time of Udayavar upto the Muhammadan occupation the honours due to the Kovanavar were done without any default and in an unbroken lineage until the days of Rangaraja Nayan in the line of Mudaliyandan. After the Muhammadan occupation, when Srirangaraya of Uttamarkoil succeeded to the gaddi of Sriranganarayana Jiyar, the first place in receiving tirtam etc., on the western steps (leading to the sanctum) was given to the Jiyar for a few days and, for a few days to Vaduladesikar in disregard of the honour due to the mace (Senapati durantara, a Kovanavar. On certain other days tirtam was offered to the Jiyar in the second place. On certain days Bhattar was offered tirtam in the second place and the Jiyar in the third place. After sometime all the three were offered tirtam simultaneously. The arulappadu in the name of Vaduladesikar was stopped … Thus the adina of the Kovanavar collapsed … from the days of the Raya the following offices arose as a result of the constant interference of the Durgadipatis, and under the seal of the Raya: a korattuparpatyakara (superintendent of the inner services), a Sriranganarayana Jiyar as the head of the mutt, a Uttamanambi, in course of time, who became the Ilamkelvi (Assistant Superintendent), a cakraraya, created again under the Rayamudra, and Kandadai Ramanuja exercising authority under the Desantri mudra. Thus the single authority of the Kovanavar split itself into many offices. So also the ten groups of Brahmana parijanas in the temple became diversified into many divisions. The (rights of) services of certain groups were detached, in various ways, from those groups and lodged in the Sribhandara. The groups of Sudra servants too suffered the same fate. Thus the kottu-maryadai (groups and their services) of Udayavar came to ruins. The order of things established by him according to the sastric injunctions enunciated by the Perumal Himself in the Pancaratra collapsed, Independently and in opposition to the rules arose, in quite a novel manner, various honours due to Acaryapurusas, all these groups of temple servants, their division into stanan samayam, etc., and the presents due to their services.”1 (KO. pp.171-173.)

Kandadai Ramanujadasa

The Koil-Olugu says that Vira Narasimha, the first king of the second or Saluva dynasty, had an elder brother by name Ramaraja, who was well learned in the sastras and who became a saint. He was an ardent devotee of Anjaneya. In the course of his pilgrimage he went to Ayoddhi, where he obtained Srirama’s gold coins (1/2 pagodas) and the sparsavedi (a mythical weapon that destroys at touch). He returned to the capital, offered a Rama’s coin to his brother and obtained from him a royal order to the effect that he should be allowed to exercise full control over all the Vaisnava shrines situated in the empire. With this authority he first went to Tirupati Tirumalai and brought the shrines of Tirumalai Perumal under his control. After visiting other shrines he came and settled in Srirangam in S.1411 or A.D.1489. He became a fervent disciple of Kandadai Annan under the dasyanama Kandadai Ramanujadasa. He is credited with the reorganisation of the temple affairs and repairs and reconstruction of parts of the temple.2 (Ibid., pp.164.171.) More than 20 inscriptions in the Tirumalai Tirupati temples, ranging between the dates 1465 and 1495 refers to Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar.3 (Tirumalai Tirupati Devasthanam Inscriptions, vols.II and III.) In these he is referred to as the manager of the gold treasury (porbhandaram) of the temple of Venkateswara and the Ramanujakutams (choultries) in Tirumalai and Tirupati. He was venerated by the Raya, who perhaps regarded him as his guru. From inscriptions and literature it is known that Saluva Narasimha’s elder brother was called Timmaraja but he was not a saint and is not known as Kandadai Ramanujadas. The suffix Aiyangar occurring in inscriptions is perhaps an honorific. A few inscriptions in Srirangam refer to Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar his benefactions, and his disciple Kandadai Madhava Aiyangar. An early inscription dated in 1483 refers to a service founded in his name. It registers a gift of land after purchase by Mahamandalesvara Timmayar, son of Kamparasar Mallayar, for providing offerings to the god Tiruvarangacelvar subsequent to the service called Ayodhya Ramanuja avasaram.4 (22 of 1938-39. Kamparasar, here, recalls Kamparaja.) Another inscription dated 1489 registers a gift of two villages on the bank of the Palar (in Padaividu savadi in Tondaimandalam) by Kandadai Ayodhya Ramanuja Aiyangar, a sattada-parama ekangi of Tiruvarangam Tirupati, who got them from their brahmana owners, for offerings to the god during the Ramanuja-avasaram and to feed with the offerings Srivaisnava Brahmanas in the Ramanujayyangar Ramanujakutam situated to the west of the Pallavarayan mutt in the eastern part of the southern row of the Vikrama-solan tiruvidi.5 (13 of 1938-39.) Two inscriptions dated in 1500 and 1515 mention Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar as the dharmakarta (trustee) of the Ramanujakutam at

Tiruvarangam-Tirupati and his disciple Kandadai Madhava Aiyangar.6 (92 and 93 of 1936-37.) The latter is said to have constructed therein Vitthalesvar and Madurakavi Alvar and arranged for their worship. A kitchen was also provided for the shrine. In the subsequent Year (A.D.1515) two velis of land belonging to the temple were allotted for the worship of these images. The donor is also said to have constructed a mantapa and formed a garden, evidently for this shrine. An inscription dated 1514 registers gift of money to Kandadai Madhava Aiyangar, the disciple of Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar, for providing offerings, worship, etc., to the god Krisnaraya during the Srijayanti festival and to the goddess Sriranga Nacciyar during the Mahanavami festival.7 (41 of 1938-39.) Another inscription dated 1520 registers a similar gift of money to the same person for providing offerings, firstly, to Ranganatha on the second day of the Brahmotsava, while the god halted in the mantapa constructed by him in his garden and, secondly, to Krisnadeva Maharaya while the god (Krisna) halted in the garden adjoining the pradhani Timmarasar toppu during the fifth day of the Masi festival.8 (42 of 1938-39) The last three inscriptions mentioned here belong to the reign of Krisnadevaraya (1509-30) and it is interesting to note that god Krisna is called Krisnaraya and Krisnadeva Maharaya. The Koil-Olugu says that Kandadai Ramanuja, as the Senapatidurantara or Korattu-parpatyakkara, daily assigned duties as was laid down by Udayavar to the ekangis connected with the various departments of the temple. As a result Uttamanambi came to occupy a subordinate position in the temple as is clear from the statement in the Olugu that he received tirtam and prasadam after Kandadai Ramanuja. The chronicle narrates a number of services rendered by this benefactor to the temple. It is said that in Sarvajit (1527), there was a breach, consequent on floods in the Kaveri, which established a link between this river and the Coleroon to the west of the boundary wall near Anaikkaval in the east. When the floods abated the channel between the two shrines (Srirangam and Anaikkaval) had left a long and deep trench, which Kandadai Ramanuja filled up with earth and thus restored communication between them. The reconstruction of the Akalangan wall and its eastern gopura, the northern and southern gopuras of the wall of Virasundarabrahmarayar (the 6th wall) and the shrine of Vitthalesvara, a fresh pavement of the 1000 pillared mantapa, the erection of the unjal (swing) mantapa to the south-east of the Aniyarangan courtyard and the repairs of the granaries are credited to him. He had many vessels and jewels made for the use of the god and gave a gold coating to the sacred vimana and the divine vehicles.

The Oppression of Koneriraja:
The de facto successor of Saluva Narasimha was his redoubtable general Narasa Nayaka. While the former concentrated his attention on putting down the aggressive activities of the Bahmini Sultan and the Gajapati of Orissa the latter turned against the refractory chieftains and governors of the South. One such was Konetiraja or Koneriraja, who succeeded Saluva Tirumalairaja as the governor of the Thiruchirapalli region. From his inscriptions it is known that he was governor between the years 1488 and 1492. That he was practically independent could be inferred from the various titles he assumed viz., Mahamandalesvara, Maharaja, Raya Bhasavasankara, (which incidentally reveals his Saivite leanings), Rajarajaraganda, Kancipuravaradhisvara, etc.9 (259 of 1911; 74 of 1913; 396 of 1918; 49, 51 and 54 of 1920.) Taking advantage of the failure of the de jure sovereignty, i.e., the sons of Saluva Narasimha, he had grown insubordinate. The Acyutarayabhyudym referes to Konetiraja as “the hero unrivalled in the world, who caused confusion to the army of the enemies” and says that he attacked Narsa Nayaka with his elephant forces but was defeated and taken prisoner.10 (S.K.Aiyangar, Sources of Vijayanagar History, p.109.) The Koil-Olugu gives clear indications of his high handed and oppressive rule in relation to the Srirangam temple.11 (KO.p.166-67) It says that Koneriraja favoured the Siva temple at Anaikkaval (Jambukesvaram) at the cost of the Vaisnava temple at Srirangam. He allowed the people of Jambukesvaram to encroach upon the estates of the Srirangam temple, leased its cultivable lands to co-heirs like Kottai Samandanar and Senrappa Nayakkar, took away from the temple a lot of gold in the name of taxes like pattanavari, kanikkai, pattu pativattam, and kudiyiruppu and oppressed the Vaisnavas of the temple in various ways. Helpless against such oppression and harassment two jiyas and a few ekangis of the temple ascended the eastern gopure of the Akalangan enclosure (the Vellai Gopuram or the white tower) and sacrificed their lives by casting themselves down. This satyagraha however, was fruitless and Koneriraja continued his oppressive exactions. Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar made repeated complaints to Narasa Nayaka about this state of affairs. The latter came to Tiruccirapalli with large armies and defeated and killed Koneriraja in battle. He had the temple lands released from the leases that had been effected by Koneriraja and made them tax and his father Nagama Nayaka are said to have come to the temple and offered worship to Ranganatha, which was arranged by Kandadai Ramanuja.12 (Narasa Nayaka’s father was Isvara Nayaka and not Nagama Nayaka. The Olugu, obviously, has made a confusion between Narasa Nayaka, and Viswanatha Nayaka.)

Narasa Nayaka offered to the Perumal many jewels like a necklace of pearls and diamonds with a pendent, eating plates, tiruvencamaras or chauries and many varieties of silk cloth or pitambara for the adornment of the idol. To commemorate his own name he made a permanent provision for the maintenance of a 100 maid-servants for the pounding and shifting of paddy and other grains in the store-house. The Olugu adds that he appointed (Kandadai) Madhava Aiyangar to supervise the proper supply of the day to day requirements of the temple involved in the decoration of the divine image, worship of the Perumal, etc. The incident of self immolation as a protest against the harassment of the temple is attested by an inscription in the Srirangam temple incised in characters of the 15th century over a panel containing the image of an ascetic wielding a sickle in his hands, sculptured on the jamb of the Vellai gopuram.13 (87 of 1936-37; pt.para 78) This record gives the cyclic year Saumya, corresponding to A.D.1487-90. It states that Periyalvar, the agent or Srikaryam of Ilandakalamedutta Alagiyamanavaladasan, flung himself down from the gopura and lost his life to show his protest against the withholding of the scale of allowances in the temple and the great irregularities that prevailed in the conduct of worship. Alagiyamanavaladasan of this inscription may be identical with Alagiyamanavala Jiyar, who is stated to have held the gaddi of Sriranganarayana Jiyar between the years S.1389 and S.1409 (A.D.1467-1487).14 (No.13 in the Sriranganarayana Jiyar Guruparamparai.) As a result of this protest full padittaram, i.e., allowance, was subsequently restored and in memory of this act of self immolation the blowing of the ekkalam and the privilege of being carried in procession in a car and other honours were shown to an image of this Periyalvar. The other jamb of the Vellai gopura opposite to the one containing this panel, has two identical figurines without any explanatory inscription. Most probably these three constitute the Jiyar and the ekangis referred to by the Olugu, which says that Kandadai Ramanujan had the images carved and the inscription incised to commemorate the satyagrahis. An inscription on a stone slab to the east of southern Raya gopura refers to another satyagrahi called Appa Aiyangar, the agent or Srikaryam of Alagiyamanavaladasan.15 (S.I.Temple Inscriptions Vol.2, p.733.) He is stated to have cast himself down from the top of this gopura and sacrified his life to protest against withholding of all allowances and mismanagement of the temple. Two inscriptions of Mahamadalesvara Konerideva Maharaja from Srirangam dated in the cyclic year Paridapi (1492) would make one feel that

Koneriraja was not after all such a Saiva bigot prejudiced against the Vaisnava temple at Srirangam as depicted in the Koil-Olugu,16 (115 and 116 of 1937-38.) perhaps his oppression was purely on the administrative side. For these epigraphs record his benefactions to the Vaisnava temple; a gift of the doors of the gopura gateway, now called the Sokkappanai-vasal (karttikai-gopuram) and an endowment of three velis of land in Piccandarkoil (Bikshandarkoil near Srirangam) for providing musarodaram (curd-rice offerings). Probably he gave these gifts more in the capacity of a governor of the country than as a pious benefactor of the Vaisnava temple. It may also be noted that he does not figure as a great benefactor of the Saiva temple at Jambukesvaram.

The inscriptions of Krisnadevaraya in the Srirangam Temple
The circumstances under which the dynasty of Saluva Narasimha was cut short as a result of the assassination of both of his sons and how the dynasty of Narasa Nayaka, the Tuluvas, was established in power are well known. Vira Narasimha (1505-1509), the first of the Tuluvas and a son of Narasa Nayaka, was succeeded by his half-brother, Krisnadevaraja (15091531), a son of Narasa Nayaka by Nagaladevi, and the greatest of the Vijayanagara kings. The next set of inscriptions in the Srirangam temple coming under our purview belong to the reign of this king. Some of these are copper plate grants in the custody of the temple and register gifts of villages to Brahmanas. The Srirangam temple appears as donee in a few cases. The earliest is a stone epigraph dated 1511.16a (257 of 1929-30.) It registers a gift of land in the village of Manakkudi Sendamaraikkannanallur alias Gangaiyanpettai in Uraiyur-kurram, a sub-division of Tenkarai Rajagambhira-valanadu to the temple of Sriranganathadeva for daily and special offerings to the god by Lingayan, son of Patsala Nagusetti of Punnagasila gotra, a traivarnika of the Perungondairajya. The next is a copper plate inscription dated 1514.17 (C.P.No.23 of 1905-06; EI. XVIII.pp.160-2.) It says that on the Go-dvadasi tithi (Asvina sukla Dvadasi) in the month of Karttika of that year Krisnadevaraya, being in the presence of god Virupaksa in the temple at Vijayanagara, granted the village of Ennakkudi, christened as Krisnarayapuram to Allala Bhatta, son of Varadarajarya, who was a master of the six systems of philosophy. On this occasion the king made the Gosahasra mahadana (gift of a 1,000 cows to Brahmanas). The village was situated on the banks of the Kaveri, but it exact location has not been made out because some of its neighbouring villages, whose names are given, viz., Pelaikkudi and Karkaktai, have not been identified. The fact that the copper plate grant was obtained from the

Srirangam temple suggests that the donee or his successors might have gifted away the village to the temple. Three inscriptions of Krisnaraya dated in 1514, 1515 and 1520 have been already referred to while dealing with Kandadai Ramanuja Iyengar and his disciple Madhava Iyengar. An inscription dated 1516 is important because it says that in that year Krisnadevaraya visited Srirangam and made a gift of five villages for providing offerings and worship to the god. In the preamble a list of the conquests of the king is given.18 (98 of 1938-39.) In Kannanur there is an inscription of Krishnadevaraya dated 1517. It records remission of certain taxes amounting to 10,000 gold pieces and consisting of jodi, sulavari, piravari and arasuperu in favour of a number of Saiva and Vaisnava temples in the Tamil country.19 (Punjai inscription of Krisnadevaraya, K.A.Nilakanta Sastri.) The next inscription, dated 1518, registers a gift of the village Ninnaiyur in Kilangu-nadu in Rajarajapura-cavadi by Rayasam Kodnanarasayya for providing offerings and worship to the god Ranganatha.20 (66 of 1938-39.) The donor was an officer of the king, perhaps secretary. An inscription dated 1522 registers a gift of money by Timmappa, son of Peddappa Nayaka, the vasalbokisam (palace treasury officer) of Krisnarayar Maharayar for providing offering to the god on the occasion of the padivettai on the third day of the Sankramana festival.21 (68 of 1938-39.) The next inscription is dated in the next year. It registers a gift of land at Ninriyur by a certain Manalur Pillai Appayan for the celebration of the Sriramanavami festival in the Srirangam temple. The land had been originally granted to the donor by Krisnadevaraya in the cyclic year Bhava (1514).22 (265 of 1929-30.) The next inscription bears the date S.1446 (A.D.1524) and mentions Tirumalaideva Maharaja as the reigning king.23 (265 of 1929-30.) This was the son of Krisnadevaraya, who was crowned heir apparent in his 6th year and who died the very same year. He is represented by a few inscriptions, all dated in 1524. The one at Srirangam registers a gift of 10,500 cakrapanam (silver coins) for the provision of midnight offerings to god Ranganatha by Ramanujadas alias Laksmipati Setti and his brother Antappa, sons of Tippu Setti of the Sahasra gotra and disciples of Kandadai Nainar Aiyangar. This also registers gift of money by the former for certain ornaments to the images of the god and the goddess. Another inscription of the same year records an order of the king to his pradhani Timmarasaiyan, making a gift of the village Tandakurai as Tiruvidaiyattam to the temple for offerings to the deity and for feeding devotees in the Ramanujakutam.24 (258 of 1929-30) The next, dated 1526, states that the king plated with gold the two doors of the first mantapa. This probably refers to the doors

gold the two doors of the first mantapa. This probably refers to the doors of the sanctum rather than the two doorways of the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa. It registers, in addition, the gift of a circular pitha to the god by one Isvara, the brother of Ananta of the Bharadwaraj gotra.25 (120 of 1937-38) An inscription dated in the next year registers gift of the village Guhapriyam to the god and provision made for the feeding of Srivaisnavas in the Kandadai-nayan-tirumaligai.26 (73 of 1938-39.) Another inscription connected with the above states that Vasavyya-Nayaka, son of Kobala Tippan Nayak having died, his sons Periya Ramappa and Siru Ramappa, made a gift of the village, Guhapriyam, as poliyuttu to the god for providing offerings and worship in the Vasavyya Nayakkan mantapa on the day of their father’s (death) anniversary.27 (74 of 1938-39.) A village was granted, in other words, for providing special offerings to the god on the occasion of the death anniversary of an individual. The next inscription is a copper plate grant dated in S.1540 (A.D.1528). Like the one dated fourteen years earlier, considered above, it records the grant of a village by the king, on the day of Utthana-dvadasi. On that day, in the month of Karttika, the king made a grant of a village called Vadabur-Ekambarapuram, christened as Krisnarayapuram situated on the southern bank of the river Kaveri in the Tiruvalursima (Nagappattinam Taluk) of the Colamandala, to a number of brahmanas of various gotras, sutras and vedas.28 (C.P.No.10 of 1936-37.) It cannot be said definitely that this village subsequently passed under the control of the Srirangam temple. The fact that the temple was in possession of this grant might suggest such an inference, but it is clear that, far distant as it was, the village could not have been of any practical use to the temple. No king is mentioned in the next inscription but it gives the date 1529. It registers gift of money by Malikuniyaninaperumal Aiyangar, son of Vedavyasabattan Rangaiyanagar of the Harita gotra for offerings, etc., during the Kausikatirunal festival in the temple.29 (19 of 1938-39) The last of the series is dated (1530) and it mentions a chief by name Cennaya Balayadeva, who figures as king and donor.30 (56 of 1892; SII IV 503.) The chief calls himself a maharaja and an ornament of the Cola race and assumes the characteristic Telugu Coda titles like Uraiyurpurvaradhisvara. From a few inscriptions it is known that Telugu Codas, claiming direct discent from the Colas of the Tamil country, survived as the 16th century. The Vijayanagar chronicles of this period allude to Cola kings reigning in south India. In the Saluvabhyudayam Cola king figures as one of the enemies of Saluva Narasimha.31 (Dr.S.K.Aiyangar, sources p.91) A Cola is also said to have opposed the advance of Narasa Nayaka in the south.32 (Further sources, vol.1, pp.168-9.) The Cola chieftains of this period were invariably the

vol.1, pp.168-9.) The Cola chieftains of this period were invariably the feudatories of the Vijayanagar sovereigns though they called themselves Maharaja. The inscription under reference records the following gifts of Cennaya Balayadeva: gold for offerings to the god Sriranganatha, gold ornaments, silver vessels and a garden to the god and the goddess Niculavalli or Uraiyurvalli Nacciyar, whose procession image he newly set up in the temple at Srirangam. To the garden donated in the name of Uraiyur Nacciyar the Perumal was brought on the 8th festival day in the month of Masi, and this is mentioned as the Cattalo or grant of Perumal Krisnarayar. Previous and offerings to be made to the god on this occasion are detailed and Alagiyamanavala Jiyar and Ember Iyengar are mentioned as the beneficiaries. The son of this donor, also called Balayadeva Maharaja, is known to have been one of the feudatories of Acyuta, the successor of Krishnadevaraya.33 (ARE., 1915-16, pt.II, para 67.)

Acyutaraya and the Srirangam Temple
There are numerous inscriptions of Acyutaraya (1530-1541) in the Srirangam temple, which bring him, his family and his officers into intimate contact with the shrine. Incidentally they reflect its prosperity. It is well known that the king made Srirangam his headquarters in the course of his southern expedition (1532). While the southern territories acknowledged the supremacy of Krisnadevaraya they seem to have grown restive soon after his death. The Acyutarayabhyudayam gives details of the southern expedition of Acyutaraya. It is said that Vira Narasinga Nayaka or Saluva Dannayakka, better known as Cellappa or Sellapa, one of the subordinate governors of the Raya, vevolted and after being defeated in battle, fled to Travancore for protection. Sellappa and the king of Travancore, the Cere, joined together and drove the Pandya out of his ancestral territories. On the appeal of the Pandya for help the Raya marched south against the Cera. The Acyutarayabhyudayam traces Acyuta’s march in detail. The Raya started from Vijayanagar and reached Srirangam via Tirupati, Kanci and Tiruvannamalai, upon whose shrines he showered his rich donations. While at Srirangam his brother-in-law, Salakaraju Timmaraju, requested that he be placed in command of the rest of the expedition. To this Acyuta consented and himself camped at Srirangam. The campaign was successful and the rebels were brought as prisoners. The following is the list of the inscriptions of Acyutaraya in the Srirangam temple arranged chronologically. Among the donors are private

individuals in addition to the king, the queens and his officers. The earliest is dated 1530.34 (263 of 1929-30) It records gift of gold by Timmaiyanagar, son of Obalayya of Sindakula gotra of Kundur, the disciple of Ramanujaiyangar for the provision of offerings to the god Sriranganatha on the fourth day of the Bhupati-Udaiyar festival. Another inscription of the same year registers the gift of the annual income from the village Vayiruchi in Sela-nadu, a sub-division of Kunrathurcavadi by a subordinate of the king by name Timmarasa alias Krisnaraya Nayaka, son of Dandu Obalarasa for daily offerings in the temple.35 (266 of 1929-30.) The next inscription, dated 1531, registers gift of land in Pudukkudi in Mala-nadu by Ellamarasa, son of Anantayyan of the Atreya-gotra, a resident of Padirikuppam in the Chandragiri-rajya for the provision of offerings and worship to the god during the festival called Bhupati-Udaiyar-tirunal celebrated in the moth of Tai.36 (24 of 1938-39.) The donor is said to have been a mace-bearer of the god. The next inscription, dated in S.1454 (A.D.1532), refers to the visit to the temple of the king with his queens, Varadacci Amman and Oduva Tirumalai Amman, and prince Cikka Venkatadri, and registers the royal gift of 1,200 gold coins (pon) and three villages for conducting with the income thereon services (sandi) to the god in their respective names.37 (16 of 1938-39; part II, para 52.) This inscription incidentally gives a full list of the king’s military achievements, in the prasasti portion. It also refers to a certain Nallar Aiyangar as the king’s preceptor (nammudaiyagurukkal). Another inscription also dated 1532, registers a gift of land in Vadakarai Sedangudi by Vallabhamman, the wife of Salakkaraja (probably the same as the father-in-law of Acyuta), and disciple of Tirumalai Tattamangar Nallatayar Amman for offerings and worship to the image of Sriranganatha on the occasion of the brahmotsava in the month of Tai.38 (259 of 192930.) The next inscription, dated 1533, registers gift of land in Turaiyur and Muttarasanallur by Sankarasayyan, the nephew of Avasaram Mallarasayyan, for providing, for the merit of the king, offerings to the god in the thousand pillared mantapa during the Vedaparayana tirumal (Adyayanotsava) in the month of Dhanus.39 (36 of 1938-39.) The next inscription dated 1534 registers the gift of the village Ten-pirambil in Pirambilparru, a subdivision of Karambainadu by Kasuvu Settiyar, son of Uttukkur Tammu Settiyar of the Parambala gotra, a traivarnika of Perungondai, for offerings to the god Sriranganatha in Vilavaravidivalanadu, a district of Tenkarai Pandikalasanivalanadu Vila-ara-vidi or, the ‘street where the festivals do not cease’ refers to the Citra street and it would appear that this street had given its name to a small division of the kingdom.40 (260 of 1929-30)

given its name to a small division of the kingdom.40 (260 of 1929-30) The next inscription dated 1534 registers the gift of the village Vadaverkudi in lieu of 500 pon granted as loan, by Peria Tirumalairaja, son of Salakaiyadeva Maharaja, for providing daily offerings to the god, as the service of Anantamman, mother of the donor.41 (70 of 1938-39) A portion of the offered food was to be given for feeding of Vaisnavas in the Tirumaligai of Appan, son of Kandadai Annan. There are four inscriptions dated in the year 1535. One records provision made for offerings to the god during the three services instituted on behalf of the king, queen Varadachi Amman and prince Kumara Venkatadri by Avasaram Mailarasayyan, an officer of the king mentioned above.42 (37 of 1938-39) A portion of the offered food was to be set apart for feeding at nights Brahmanas, Sudras and Pradesis in a catram and for maintaining water sheds at the northern and eastern gateways (of the temple). Another registers several gifts of god vessels, ornaments, etc. made to the temple by the king, the queen and the prince during the regime of Avasaram Mallarasa.43 (39 of 1938-39) The third inscription states that Mahamandalesvara Periya Tirumalaideva Maharaja (Salakaraju Tirumala), son of Salakaiyadeva Maharaja, presented to the god a gold pendent or padakam.44 (40 of 1938-39) The fourth registers a gift of gold by Periya Konamman, wife of Periya Tirumalaideva Maharaja, son of Salakaiyadeva Maharaja, of the suryavamsa, for offerings to the god, from which Srivaisnavas had to be fed in the Tirumaligai of Kandadai Annan Appan of the Vadhula gotra.45 (3 of 1938-39) An inscription dated 1536 records gift of money by Gnananidhi Udaiyar for maintaining a perpetual lamp in the temple for the merit of his teacher Laksminarayana Udaiyar.46 (262 of 1929-30) The next inscription dated 1537 registers the gift of the village Uraiyur, by the king, for providing offerings and worship to the god on certain specified occasions through Ramabhattarayan, son of Bhutanatha Tittisna Bhattar, of the Gautama gotra.47 (114 of 1938-39) Another inscription, dated in the same year, registers gift of the village Nannur, in Rajagambhiravalanadu, by Adaippattu Sirumallappa Nayaka, an officer of the king, for providing offerings and flower-garlands to the god.48 (26 of 1938-39) A third inscription, dated in the same year and engraved on a pillar in the mantapa called the Acyutarayamantapa on the road leading to Jambukesvaram, states that as the four pillared mantapa to the west of the tank outside the Jambukesvaram temple was found insufficient to accommodate the deity on the seventh day festival (ellaikarai tirumal) of the Brahmotsava Sankarasa, son of the Avasaram officer Mallarasayya, enlarged it and converted it into a sixteen pillared mantapa and provided for offerings to the god as the gift of Acyutadeva Maharaya.49 (123 of 1937-38) The next inscription dated

of Acyutadeva Maharaya.49 (123 of 1937-38) The next inscription dated 1538 registers gift of two velis of land for providing offerings to TiruvaliAlvan (Cakrattalvar) by Ramacandran alias Sriranganarayana Jiyar Brahmaraya, son of Narasimha Bhatta of the Kousika gotra, which he had obtained from his guru, Sriranganarayana Jiyar, on the occasion of Makara Sankaranti at the time of his spiritual initiation.50 (152 of 1938-39) The next inscription dated 1539 registers a gift by the king of a pearl cuirass (metal breast and back plate) to the god Ranganatha and a jeweled crown for the goddess.51 (151 of 1938-39) The same inscription also registers a gift of two kshetra of land in Sangamavalli, received from Sriranganarayana (jiyar) by Ramacandra for providing offerings (to Cakrattalvar). This record is found inscribed on the southern wall of the Cakrattalvar shrine and is obviously connected with the epigraph mentioned in the above para. Another inscription dated in the same year states that the king performed tulabhara-mahadana, in commemoration of which is rajamahisi Oduva Tirumaladevi Amman composed two verses celebrating the anandanidhi-dana made by the king on the occasion. These verses were recorded on stone along with the inscription during the regime of Srirangappa Nayaka, son of Tuluva Vengala Nayaka, an officer of the king.52 (15 of 1938-39) A still another record of the same year registers a royal gift to Sriranganatha of a kirita (crown) and karna-patra (ear-ornament) made through Vengalayya, the Rayasam of Ramabhattayya.53 (1 of 1938-39) Another record of the same year mentions Cennaya Balayadeva, an officer of the king, and registers his gift of the village Kadambankurici in Kilangunadu belonging to Rajarajapuraccavadi, for providing curd-rice offerings to Uraiyurvalli Nacciyar.54 (2 of 1938-39) The donor, like his father (referred to in an inscription of Krisnadevaraya, above calls himself a Maharaja and bears a number of birudas like Uraiyurpuravaradisvara, Colakulatilaka, etc. In addition to the village the record registers the gift of gold and silver ornaments to the goddess by the same chief. In the epigraph cited above his father is stated to have installed the image of Uraiyurvalli Nacciyar in the Srirangam temple. Another inscription dated in the same year viz., 1539, is of historical importance. It registers a renewal of the gift of the village, Uttamasili, which had been granted to the temple for the maintenance of the Ramanujakutam. The endowment had lapsed and hence the renewal.55 (264 of 1929-30) The renewal itself was done with the help of an old copper plate grant, which was found out by Singaracar, the agent of the Ramanujakutam, and presented to Viswanatha Nayaka of Thiruchirapallicavadi. For the first time in a purely epigraphical history of Srirangam we

come across the name of Viswanatha Nayaka as the governor of the Thiruchirapalli region. The hero of the incident stated in this inscription and the man of authority on the spot in the year 1539 was Viswanatha Nayaka. By about this year it would appear that the Nayak viceroys had begun to administer in full authority the regions of Madurai and Thiruchirapalli that were allotted to them by the Raya of Vijayanagar. We shall next turn to the patronage extended by these Nayak rulers to the Srirangam temple. The above inscriptions show that the administration of the temple had settled down under royal, authority and patronage and that there was neither excessive official interference nor oppressive exactions.

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Events of Today

Chapter 9


THE PATRONAGE OF THE NAYAKS OF MADURAI AND TANJORE The Nayak rule over the regions of Madurai and Tiruccirapalli commenced under Visvanatha Nayaka sometime in the last years of Krisnadevaraya of the first of Acyutaraya. In theory the Nayaks were viceroys of the Rayas of Vijayanagar but in effect they ruled independently. In their early inscriptions the name of the Raya ruling from Ghanagiri (Pennukonda) is invariably mentioned. As Tiruccirapalli was their alternate action. Some of them, e.g., Vijayaranga Cokkanatha Nayaka. Their particular service to the temple was in the direction of repairs and reconstruction of the various sub-shrines, gopuras and mantapas in the outer prakaras. Their association with the temple is attested by the numerous Nayak portrait stone images set up on the bases of pillars in the mantapas and prakaras in the temple. The ceilings and walls of the tiruvunnali as well as the pradaksina and prakara of the Nacciyar shrine were painted over with scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, almost all of which are now practically obliterated. Here and there are few Nayak images. A few labels in Telugu are also visible. Tradition Visvanatha Nayaka 1529-1564 associates the fortifications of Thiruchirapalli, the teppakulam (tank) and the town itself with Visvanatha Nayaka, the first of the Madura Nayaks. An inscription in the Srirangam temple dated 1536 records the gift of four silver chains for the swinging couch (unjal-mancam) of the god by the king (Acyutaraja), who entrusted them to Visvanatha Nayak.1 (43 of 1938-39) Another inscription dated 1538 is a bit damaged. It seems to registers a gift of two villages in Malanadu in Tiruccirapalli-usavadi, by Tirumalai Nayaka, son of Kacci Visvanatha Nayak, for providing offerings and worship to the god Tiruvenkatanatha consecrated at ellaikkarai (boundary between Srirangam and Jambukesvaram) by the former, for the merit of Acyutaraya Maharaya and Cikkaraya.2 (111 of 1938-39) The mention of Kacci or Kanchipuram need not pose any difficulty as an epigraph from Perungulam (Tinnevelly district) states that Visvanatha Nayak hailed from Kanchipuram and Tondaimandalam.3 (ARE. 1932-33, para 58) The Koil-Olugu says that Visvanatha Nayak offered to the Srirangam temple many jewels and vessels like pancapatra and platters, a censer and a sahasradarai (1,000 holded)

plate, all in gold, Narasimhacarya. He

under the guidance of his guru Vaduladesika also conducted various festivities for the god

Ranganatha and these benefactions cost him three lacs of gold pieces.4 (KO.p.174) His preceptor, it may be mentioned here, belonged to the family of Mudaliyandan.

Inscriptions of Sadasivaraya (1542-1565) in the Srirangam Temple
It is well known that Sadasivaraya (1542-1565) was a king only in name, that soon after his accession to the throne a struggle for power ensued between the brothers Salakraju Tirumalas, who were brothers-in-law of Acyutaraya, on the one side and Ramaraja, the son-in-law of Krisnadevaraya, successful. He paid Sadasivaraya all the deference due to a crowned king but kept real power in his own hands. Hence the numerous inscriptions in the Srirangam temple, which mention Sadasiva, do not refer to his visits to the temple nor his gifts, but register gifts mostly of private individuals, royal officers and members of the Araviti family, to which Ramaraja belonged. The earliest inscription dated 1544 registers the gift of the income from two villages Viramanallur and Kumaramangalam for the provision of pulugu-kappu (civet ointment) to the god every Friday.5 (81 of 1937-38) Another inscription dated in the same year records a gift of the village Marudur in Paccil-kurram in Malainadu, a sub-division of Vadakarai Rajarajavalanadu, in Thiruchirapalli-usavadi by Vitthaladeva Maharaja son of Timmarayadeva Maharaja for the provision of offerings and worship to the god Sriranganatha at Tiruvaranagam Tiruppati, valanadu.6 (8 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 62) Vitthaladeva and Cinna Timma were cousin of Ramaraja and these were sent on a southern expedition to quell the aggressive tendencies of the king of Travancore and the political as well as the prosletyzing activities of the Portuguese missionaries established on the Travancore coast. The inscription further states that Vitthala defeated some Kuravanniyar and reopened the Srirangam temple which had been closed for sometime and revived worship therein. It is difficult to find out who exactly were the Kuravanniyar which may mean ‘petty chieftains’ whom Vitthala defeated and whose hostile activities had necessitated the closing of the Srirangam temple for some time. The Koil-Olugu does not refer to any such incident. At this time Visvanatha Nayak was ruling over Tiruccirapalli as the viceroy of the Raya and he would not have suffered any major enemy to exist by his side. As the very name indicates the Kurunilamannar or Kuravanniyar were perhaps some of the petty estate holders or polegars

recognised by Visvanatha Nayaka for purposes of local government and military organisation. It may also be stated that Manniyar or Vanniar figure among the victims of Acyutaraya in the course of his southern expeditions in his inscriptions as well as the Acyutarayabhyudayam. Vitthala placed his gift of land in charge of Parasarabhatta Singaiyangar for conducting a Ramanujakutam at Srirangam. Vitthala’s other gifts to the Srirangam temple are enumerated in another inscription, which gives the genealogy of Vitthaladeva Maharaja and his conquests and achievements.7 (11 of 193637) He is said to have overrun all the dominious in the peninsula south of Vijayanagara with the help of his brother Chinna Timma. He made a number of benefactions to the temple such as providing for the daily sahasranama puja and the anointment of the divine image with karpurataila every Friday. He also endowed a few villages for the provision of offerings to the god. An elder brother of his by name Nalla Timma is stated to have made a Candraprabha-vahana in silver for the god while Ahobala Dikshita of Krishnapuram made a present of a Suryaprabha in gold. Vitthala is said to have planted pillars of victory at Anantasayanam, Kanyakumari and Ramasetu. The next inscription dated 1549 registers a gift of the village called Cintamani to Srisailapurnacarya Tatacarya alias Auvukku Tiruvenkataiyanagar by Ramaraj, for worship and offerings to the god in the manner in which they were conducted in the time of Nalantigal Narayana Jiyar (i.e., Kuranarayana Jiyar) for the merit of himself and the king. This inscription also refers to the erosion of the river Kaveri into Srirangam and also refers to the erosion of the river Kaveri into Srirangam and its diversion near Cintamani, in the time of a Cola king and the compensation in land in the village Kolakkattai granted to the brahmanas of Cintamani. It may be pointed out, here, that Kuranarayana Jiyar is said to have saved the Srirangam temple from the floods of the Kaveri by effecting a diversion near Cintamani, a village near Thiruchirapalli.8 (KO.p.118) The next inscription, dated 1551, registers a gift of the income of the village Uttamasolanallur in Manappidinadu, a sub-division of Tirucirappalli-asavadi, for offerings to the god Sriranganatha, by Narapparaja, son of Mahamandalesvara Nandyala Narasingaraja.9 (66 of 1936-37; pt.II, page 85) This inscription also refers to a previous gift of a portion of the income from the same village for a feeding house conducted by Siru-Tirumalaiyangar, son of Talappakkam Periya Tirumalaiyangar at Srirangam. Narapparaja was the grandson of Singarayya, the first member of the Nandyala family, ruling over Nandyal in the Kurnool district. The donee was one of Talapakkam poets, who composed many panegyries in Sanskrit and Telugu on the god Sri Venkatesa of

Tirupati.10 (T.T.D.Epigraphical Report, pp.284-85) The next inscription dated 1553 registers the gift of the village Matteri in Kuruttadalaisirmai by Krishnamman, wife of Peria Timma, son of Ramaraja Timmaraja of Arvidu, for offerings to the god Ranganatha and for feeding Srivaisnavas in the Kandai Annan Ramanujakutam at Srirangam.11 (93 of 1937-38) Another inscription of the same year registers a gift of lands, after purchase, by a certain Singa-Gangaya, son of Nagu-setty of the Nedunkumara gotra, for offerings on Fridays.12 (58 of 1936-37) Still another record of the same year registers the gift of the villages Pasaru in Vallanadu, a sub-division of Tirupparuttisirmai, and Sembiyankalar, by Ramaraja, a son of Ramaraja of Jagaraja Aravidu, for conducting festivals in the temple in the month of Vaikasi.13 (94 of 1937-38) The next inscription is dated in 1562.14 (60 of 1936-37) This records the gift of the village Adippuliyur in Ogaimaganai, a sub-division of Ayppadisirmai belonging to Tanjavur-usavadi in Solamandalam for offerings to the god Sriranganatha by Rayasam Venkata, son of Gundamaraja Timmapparaja, of the Aruvelu community. The last in this series, dated 1565, registers and endowment in money made by a certain Perumal Jiyar on behalf of Alagiyamanavala Jiyar, the occupant of the seat of Sriranganarayana Jiyar.15 (57 of 1936-37) With the interest on the endowment offerings were to be made to the god Sriranganatha on the occasion of the sacred bath of the deity in the Kaveri on the Panguniuttiram day of the Adibrahmotsava. The members of the Aravidu dynasty, many of whom figure in the Srirangam records of Sadasivaraya, were the descendants of Araviti Bukka, one of the famous officers of Saluva Narasimha. His grandson, Tirumala, was the first king of the fourth dynasty of Vijayanagar. After the battle of Raksasi-tangidi (1565) Tirumala could not maintain himself at Vijayanagar and hence transferred his capital to Ghanagiri or Penukonda (1567).

The great Vaisnava temple of Srirangam was the loadstar of devotional singers in this period as well as in the days of the Alvars. Purandaradasa (1484-1564), who has been regarded as the grandfather of Karnatak music and the father of the dasa kuta movement, visited Srirangam in the course of his bardic travels and composed several padas or songs of devotion in Kannada on Ranganatha.

Acyutappa Nayaka of Tanjore (1530-1614) and the Srirangam Temple

The Nayaka rule over Tanjore is reckoned from the viceroyalty of Sevappa Nayaka, who carried on a peaceful and beneficient administration between the years 1532 and 1580. He was succeeded by his son Acyutappa Nayaka (1580-1614). Unlike the Nayaks of Madurai and Gingee Acyutappa of Tanjore maintained a single-minded loyalty to the Raya of Vijayanagar (Penukonda), Venkata I (1585-1614). Contemporary literature and a few inscriptions bear witness to the deep devotion of this chief to the god of Srirangam. Even as a prince he made gifts to the temple of Ranganatha. An inscription on the west wall of the pagalapattu mantapa, dated in S.1489 (A.D.1567), refers to this chief as the son of Cinna Cevva and records the provision made by him, by an endowment of money, for lamps and offerings in the temple.16 (104 of 1938-39) It also describes the ten avataras of Visnu. There are two inscriptions outside Srirangam, which testify to the Nayaka’s devotion to the temple. One from Melur (Thiruchirapalli Taluk) registers the gift of a garden to the Srirangam temple.17 (410 of 1924) Another inscription from Tiruvaiyaru (Tanjore district) eulogises this king and states that he made several gifts to the temple of Rangesa at Srirangam.18 (426 of 1924) He is said to have paid annual visits to Srirangam and Ramesvaram. Contemporary literary sources throw considerable light on the deeply religious character of Acyutappa Nayak. He was a broad-minded religious benefactor and among the recepients of his gifts were many Vaisnava and Saiva temples and the Madhva teacher Vijayindra-tirtha, but the Srirangam temple was his favourite. Govinda Diksita in his Sangita Suhda yagnanarayana Diksita in his Sahityu Ratnakara, and Ramabhadramba in her Raghunathabhyudayam, have described Acyuta’s benefactions to the Srirangam temple in glowing terms. He is said to have constructed the golden vimana over the sanctum of the Srirangam temple.19 (S.K.Aiyangar: Sources of Vijayanagar History, p.285) This may only mean that he covered the Sriranga vimana afresh with gold plates. He is also said to have presented to the god, Sriranganatha, a gold crown embedded with gems, a jewelled armour and a golden throne. A few gopuras in the east, west and the north of the temple, a few of the outermost prakara walls, some pleasure gardens and several mantapas are also credited to him.20 (Ibid., p.255) The Sahityaratnakara, the Raghunathabhyudayam and the letters of the Jesuit Fathers Pimenta, Auquetil du Perron and Coutinho aver that Acyutappa addicated the throne in favour of his son Raghunatha about 1600 and retired to Srirangam. Fathers Pimenta and du Jarric say that Ayutappa retired to Srirangam “accompanied in that devotion by his seventy wives, all

of which were to be burned in the same fire with his Carkasee”. Father Coutinho, writing from Candragiri under dated 17th July, 1600 says: This (Acyutappa died lately. His corpse, along with 370 wives still alive, was burnt in big fire of sandalwood.” The Raghunathabhyudayam and the Sahityaratnakara, however, do not speak of Acyutappa’s death immediately after his retirement to Srirangam, but actually suggest that he lived a long time after his abdication. The latter work says that Acyutappa retired, after his abdication, to Srirangam, where he spent the rest of his days in the company of pandits.21 (For arguments against the evidence of the Portuguese Fathers see Vridhagirisan: The Nayaks of Tanjore, pp.57-61) Curiously enough the Koil-Olugu has nothing to say about Acyutappa’s benefactions.

Inscriptions of the Period of Sriranga I (1572-1585) and Venkata II (1585-1614)
There are a few inscriptions in the Srirangam temple spread over the period 1572-1612 covering these two reigns. The reign of Sriranga I was not effective owing to internal discords. It is significant that his name does not occur in the inscriptions in the temple belonging to his reign while Venkata II or Venkatapatideva Maharaya, the last great ruler of Vijayanagar, is mentioned in a few records. The names of the Nayak viceroys are also mentioned. The earliest of these is dated 1574.22 (103 of 1938-39) It records the gift of a village in Venpattu-sirmai by Ravasam Tirumalaiyan, son of Timmappar of the Gautama gotra, to Sriranganatha for food offerings. The next dated 1583 records an endowment of money entrusted to Tirumalai Tiruvengada-Tattaiyangar Tirumalaiyangar by Jagadapirayar, son of Annama Nayaka for feeding Srivaisnava in the Ramanujakutam in Srirangam.23 (91 of 1936-37) The next, dated 1590, registers a similar endowment of 70 varahan entrusted to the same person by Krisnappa Nayaka, son of Adattaraya of the Visnuvardhana gotra, for feeding eight Vaisnavas daily in the temple.24 (90 of 1936-37) Another inscription dated in the same year mentions Venkatapatideva Maharaya as king.25 (79 of 1936-37) It records an endowment in money by a certain Cenna-raja, son of Tirumalaiyan of Pattikondai, for offerings during the monthly festival in the shrine of Paramapadanathan. The next inscription dated 1592 registers a gift of land by purchase in Kilai Perungavur, alias Lakkanadanayakapuram, in the eastern portion of Malainadu in Rajaraja valanadu on the northern bank of the Kaveri in tiruccirappali-savadi by Nadiminti Kondu-setty, Mulangi Timmu-setti and others for the service of the chanting of the Iyarpa in the temple (during the Adyayanotsava).26 (35 of 1938-39) The next record is dated 1594 and

mentions Venkata II as the reigning king.27 (97 of 1936-37) It records sale of house-sites by two brahmanas of the temple to the Nayaka of Tanjore, Acyutappa, son of Sevappa, for establishing a Ramanujakutam. The next dated 1597 registers gift of land by purchase by Peddana Nayaka Kasturi Rangappa Nayaka of Thiruchirapalli for providing offerings and worship to the god of Srirangam during the Citrapaurnami festival.28 (99 of 1938-39) The donor was probably a kinsman of the contemporary Nayak of Madurai, Krishnappa Nayak II (1595-1601).29 (The Koil-Olugu gives a list of Nayaka rulers and one of the early Nayaks, according to this list, is Kasturi Rangappa. He is said to have ruled for seven days only) The next inscription is dated 1608. It registers gift of money by Ekangi Bhattar Tiruvengadaiyan, the disciple of Vedavyasa Bhattarayyangar Kovilappayar, for providing offerings to the god on the day of his guru’s asterism Cittirai.30 (49 of 1938-39) The next inscription mentions Venkata II and is dated 1611.31 (16 of 1936-37) It registers gift of money by one Paramesvaran, son of Manga-setti, a merchant of Srirangam for offerings to the god Sriranganatha, while halting at the Vitthalarajan mantapa in the Saluvanayakkan toppu when taken in procession to Uraiyur on the 5th and 6th days of the Brahmotsava. The last of the series is dated 1612.32 (8 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 56) It registers a gift of money by Ramanuja Jiyar of the lineage of Yatindrapranavaprabhava pillai Lokacarya Jiyar for offerings to the god during the Tiruadyayanam festival in the month of Cittirai in honour of Emberumanar (Udaiyavar). The prefatory portion of the record refers to Udaiyavar or Ramanuja in glowing terms. He is called a rajahamsa at the lotus feet of Srirangaraja, a bee at the feet of Parankusa, one born to save the whole world, one who improved the wealth of the (Srirangam) temple (by reforming its administration) and as one who was thrilled by the very mention of the name Ponnarangam. THE BENEFACTIONS OF THE MADURAI NAYAKS KRISNAPPA NAYAK I (1564-72) AND KRISHNAPPA NAYAK II (1595-1601) The Koil-Olugu says that Krisnappa Nayak I offered to Sriranganatha a large number of jewels and conducted with the help and guidance of Kumara Narasimha Vaduladesika many festivities for the god. He is also said to have constructed a bathing ghat with steps and a mantapam on the banks of the southern Kaveri (meaning probably the Amma Mantapam of the present day). Kumara Krisna or Krisnappa Nayak II, the grandson of Krisnappa Nayak I, is a said to have offered to the god of Srirangam a diamond shirt, a diamond crown, etc., worth a lakh and fifty thousand gold pieces.33 (KO., pp.174-

75) From inscriptions it is known that the early Nayaks extended their patronage equally to the Saiva temple at Jambukesvaram.34 (138 of 193637 and 1 and 2 of 1938-39, pt.II of 1938-39, paras 74 and 75) THE GREAT CIVIL WAR OF VIJAYANAGAR (1614-17) AND THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE: THE ACCOUNT IN THE KOIL OLUGU The death of Venkata II in 1614 was the prelude to a bloody war of succession at the imperial capital, viz., Vellore, which in its turn was known as Vijayanagar. This civil was threw the Tamil Country into much confusion and offered a good chance to the restless feudatories to assume independence. Authentic accounts of the civil war are given in the works Ramarajiyamu, Raghunathabhyudayam and Sahityaratnakara. These are confirmed by the accounts of foreigners like Barradas and Queyroz. Venkata II died without a son to succeed him but before his death he nominated his nephew Sriranga as heir apparent. When Sriranga II ascended the throne he was opposed by Jagaraya, the father of Bayama, one of the queens of Venkata II, who put forward the claims of a pretender, a putative son of his sister. The loyalist party was headed by one Yacama Nayak, the ancestor of the Rajas of Venkatagiri. Jagaraya succeeded in capturing the king and his family and putting them to the sword. Out of this slaughter Rama, a son of Sriranga II, alone escaped through the efforts of a loyal washerman. Yacama Nayak took the prince under his benign protection and declared a relentless war upon the rebel Jagaraya. According to all accounts the Nayaks of Madurai and Cenji (Gingee) joined forces with Jagaraya while the Nayak of Tanjore threw his lot with Yacama. The Sahityaratnakara tells us that when Acyutappa Nayak of Tanjore and his son Raghunatha were informed by a messenger of the rapid turn of events at the imperial capital Yacama Nayak was already marching south to seek their help while Jagaraya was also proceeding in the same direction to join forces with his allies at Srirangam as already arranged between them.35 (S.K.Aiyangar: Sources, p.273) The jungles in the region of Srirangam and Thiruchirapalli had been chosen as the rendezvous and there Jagaraya was tarrying with his troops eagerly waiting for the troops from Madurai and Cenjei. According to Baradas both Yacama Nayak and Jagaraya had reached the environs of Thiruchirapalli and were making preparations for a final trial of strength. Under the date 12th December 1616 he writes. “Indeed there are now assembled in the field in the large open plains of Trinchenapali not only the hundred thousand men that each party has, but as many as a million of soldeirs”.36 (R.Sewell, A forgotten Empire, p.230 (National Book Trust) ) The Nayak of Madurai of the time was muttu Virappa I (1609-1623).

Guided by the twin objects of gaining complete independence and waging a war on the neighbouring Nayakship of Tanjore he had thrown his lot with Jagaraya. Leon Besse in his La Mission due Madure says: “…. The Nayak of Madura removed his court and army to Trichinopoly in A.D.1616 with the object of making war with the king of Tanjore.37 (Sathianathier: The Nayaks of Madura, p.103, n.16.) It is clear that the transfer of the capital from Madurai to Thiruchirapalli, with its rock and fortifications, was effected for strategic purposes. With the object of preventing the junction of Yacama Nayak and the fugitive prince with the Nayak of Tanjore the Grand Anicut across the Kaveri, eight miles east of Tiruccirapalli, was blown up. However in the battle fought at Tohur or Toppur, two miles from the Grand Anicut on the southern bank of the Kaveri in 1617 the loyallists under Yacama Nayak won a decisive victory. It was a triumph for the rightful heir to the throne of Vijayanagar and the policy of Raghunatha Nayak of Tanjore. This did not affect the position of Muttu Virappa Nayak in any way. Till about the year 1640 Tiruccirapalli continued and the headquarters of the Nayak of Madurai. At this juncture the Koil-Olugu sketches, in detail a dispute at Srirangam, between a certain Uttamanambi (whose full name is not mentioned) and Bhattar Tirumalacaryar (who was probably in charge of the temple worship) over the possession of a Garuda seal, which carried with it a title to hereditary rights to certain lands belonging to the temple.38 (KO., pp.175-177; 182-3) Uttamanambi, we are told, carried the case to Muttu Virappa Nayak, made his accusations against Tirumalacaryar and had the currency of his Garuda seal in the temple stopped. Subsequently when Jagaraya came with his armies to Thiruchirapalli Muttu Virappa, who probably knew that a battle was imminent in the neighbourhood, asked Tirumalacaryar to lodge all the moveable property of the Srirangam temple, i.e., the jewels, etc., in his fortress at Thiruchirapalli for safety. Bhattar Tirumalacaryar refused to effect the transfer on the plea that the “property of Arangar (Sriranganatha) will not cross the river (Kaveri)”. Declaring that he would defend the temple if the occasion arose he gathered together an army of tridandin-sanyasis and Srivaisnavas bearing the Ramanujan sword-about 4,000 in number and assigned each devotee to one house in Srirangam. They were to shout Srimad Rangam Mahattama (the shrine of Srirangam is great and magnificent). “The Raya (Yacama with the prince Rama) came to know of this when his army reached Togur and under his orders Raghunatha Nayak (of Tanjore), along with his adaippikkaran (personal servant carrying the betal pouch), entered the temple and worshipped the god. Tirumalacaryar said to him, ‘As you have won so many

worshipped the god. Tirumalacaryar said to him, ‘As you have won so many victories I will make Srirangam too yours,’ and pleased him with such strategic words. Raghunatha Nayak returned with delight.” These words uttered probably with the autonomy and safety of the temple town of Srirangam in his mind were seized upon by his tenemy, Uttamanambi, who is said to have sent to Muttu Virappa Nayak an epistle purporting to have been written by the Bhattar to the Raya (i.e., the loyallist party of Yacama) offering to surrender the temple. The Nayak was also invited to the temple to know for himself the truth. Pranadartihara Vaduladesikar alias Annangar, the accarya of the Nayak, was persuaded to depose against Tirumalacaryar much against his will, as otherwise Uttamanambi had protested that he could die along with his kith and kin by taking poison. Convinced that Tirumalacaryar would have over the Srirangam temple with all its property to his enemy, Raghunatha Nayak of Tanjore, Muttu Virappa Nayak effected the capture of Tirumalacaryar near the gateway of the temple with the help of Uttamanambi and Gaddival Nayakkan, a disciple of Tirumalacaryar. The captive was imprisoned in the Tiruccirappali fort for about six months. The persecution of the Bhattar at the instigation of Uttamanambi was complete when the former’s house at Srirangam was plundered, his followers captured and his matha transferred to Srirangam Tatacaryar. The family of the Bhattar took refuse in Turaiyur. The Reddy of Turaiyur, we are told, had Bhattar Tirumalacaryar released on payment of a ransom of 20,000 gold pieces and maintained him in his town for seven years. Calculating from the date of the battle of Toppur, i.e., 1617 this brings us to the date 1623, which is also the last regnal year of Muttu Virappa. Bhattar, it is said, got back his rights from Tirumalai Souri (Tirumala Nayak), the successor of Muttu Virappa. The Koil-Olugu’s references to the coming of the Raya (Yacama and prince Rama) to Thiruchirapalli, the mention of Raghunatha Nayak as a partisan of Yacama Nayak and the reference to the camp at Toghur are accurate and valuable to a student of South Indian History. Of particular importance to the history of the Srirangam temple is the implied fact that the Nayak of Madurai and Thiruchirapalli, viz., Muttu Virappa Nayak, was anxious to save it from falling into the hands of his enemy, the Tanjore Nayak, Ragunatha, but Bhattar Tirumalacaryar wanted to steer clear of the two hostile princes and remain neutral. In this policy he succeeded but at a terrible cost, thanks to the machinations of his foe Uttamanambi. This is clear case of mutually jealous wardens or officers of the temple pursuing their quarrel to a bitter and taking advantage of a critical political background.

TIRUMALA NAYAK (1623-1659) AND THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE Tirumala Nayak (1623-1659), the best known Nayak ruler of Madurai, was the younger brother and successor of Muttu Virappa. He transferred the capital back from Thiruchirapalli to Madurai. The Mriyunjaya manuscripts and other chronicles place this event immediately after the accession of Tirumala, i.e, about 1623-24. The Nayak, it is said, was attacked by violent catarrh while he was proceeding from Thiruchirapalli to Madurai for his coronation and that both the Vaisnava and Saiva gods on the island of Srirangam were not able to heal it. At Dindigul Cokkanatha and Minaksi, the god and goddess of Madurai, appeared before him in a vision and promised to cure the illness on condition that the Nayak gave up Tiruciprappalli and made Madurai his capital, as of old. Accordingly Tirumala made Madurai his permanent residence and rendered in may ways the city and its temple beautiful.39 (IA. XLV. P.150) From the Jesuit letters, which are certainly more reliable, however, it is learnt that the transfer was brought about not immediately after the accession of the Nayak to the throne but some time after 1640. Two letters dated 1624 and 1640 refer to the Nayak residing in Thiruchirapalli while another dated 1644 mentions the Nayak residing in Madurai implying that the transfer was effected sometime between 1640 and 1644.40 (The Nayak of Madura, op.cit., pp.113-15) It is needless to investigate the exact cause or cause of the transfer. It was brought about probably because Madurai was a more central as also the historic capital of the Pandyan kingdom.

The Olugu’s account of the visit of Kodikannikadanam Tatacarya to the Srirangam Temple
The Koil-Olugu carries an interesting account of a Nayak king called Muttu Virappa, who could not persuade the Stalattar of the Srirangam temple to accord a fitting reception to Kodikkannikadanam Tatacarya, when he visited the Srirangam temple as an emissary of the Raya of Vijayanagar. It also gives the date S.1507 or A.D.1585 or thereabouts for the visit.41 (KO., p.183.) This date does not fall within the reign of either Muttu Virappa I (1609-1623) or Muttu Virappa II, whose reign was confined to the year 1659. The Nayak in question may be identified with Tirumala Nayak for Kodikkannikadanam Tatacarya is said to have visited Srirangam after visiting Tirupati with the intention of gold-plating the vimana42 (Ibid.) and, from independent sources, his visit to Tirupati is placed in 1630, as explained below. The sequence of events followed by the Olugu too points to the same conclusion, for the incident mentioned below follows the narration of

the dispute between Uttamanambi and Tirumalacaryar said to have taken place during the reign of Muttu Virappa. The Olugu’s account is this.43 (Ibid., pp.183-186) Ettur Tirumalai Tatacarya, better known as Kumara Tatacarya and Kodikannikadanam Tatacarya proceeded to Srirangam, after visiting Tirupati, with a letter from the Raya, most probably Venkata III (1630-1642), and with gold plates intended for the vimana of the temple. This Vaisnava Acarya was the well known preceptor of Venkata II (1585-1614) and his successors. From inscriptions in Kancipuram and Tirupati it is known that he was learned in the Vedas, was a native of Kanci, where he lived in royal splendour and that his activities ranged between the years 1575 and 1630.44 (T.T.D.Epigraphical Report, pp.310-314) He came to Phanipatigiri (Tirupati) in Pramoduta, corresponding to 1630 and repaired and regilt the punyakoti or anandanilaya vimana of the Venkatesvara shrine. He had earlier gilded the vimanas of God Varadaraja and Goddess Laksmi of Kanci. Before he arrived in Srirangam the Nayak received a letter from the Raya through an emissary, which said that he should meet Tatacaryar along with the Stalattar of the temple, take his family in a palanquin upto the Aryabhattal gateway and act according to his wishes. The Nayak, i.e., Tirumala Nayak (who was in Thiruchirapalli upto 1640, as shown above) came to Srirangam and told Bhattar (Tirumalacaryar, who owed his restoration to him) of the Raya’s epistle. Bhattar, the chief priest, is said to have referred the Nayak to Annangar, the treasurer. As already pointed out the relations between the Stalattar, i.e, the chief officers of the temple, viz., the chief priest (Bhattar), the treasurer (Annangar, who was also the preceptor or Acarya of the Nayak) and Uttamanambi, the manager, were strained by jealously and quarrels of a personal nature. This evil was only a reflection of the unsettled political conditions of the day on the working of autonomous institutions, wealthy and assured of a steady income like the Srirangam temple. Another factor of importance needs to be highlighted here, and that is Tatachar was a Vadakalai, while the Stalattar were Tenkalais. Hence when the Nayak requested Annangar to meet Tatacaryar and welcome his the latter refused to do any such thing. “When the Nayak requested him to do it for his sake, Annangar roundly declared that he did not need his favour for anything, and announced that if the Nayak rendered any honour to Tatacaryar within the temple many Jiyars and Srivaisnavas would be sacrificing their lives. The Nayak, quite petrified, reported the situation to Tatacaryar, who said in great rate. ‘the Tenkalaiyar of Perumal Koil (i.e., Kancipuram) created the same hindrances, but I was able to subdue them. You are a good-fornothing’. Tatacarya, in effect received no honour. His family actually got out

nothing’. Tatacarya, in effect received no honour. His family actually got out of their palanquin outside the northern gateway of the Nacciyar shrine and only then could they worship the perumal. Hence he turned back with the gold plates, which he assigned to the vimana of Alagar-koil, and proceeded to the north.” When the Raya came to known of this he is stated to have sent two persons, Krisnarayar and Vittalarayar to inquire into the matter and punish the Nayak, if necessary. Finding that “both the Stalattar and the Nayak were not at fault” they sent a conciliatory reply to the Raya. The Nayak is said to have sent to the Raya an effigy of his head in gold and some money as tribute. He developed a hatred towards and Srirangam temple and its Stalattar. The chronicle concludes by saying that he disregarded his own Vaisnava Acarya, Pranadartihava Vaduladesikar (Annangar) and sought the discipleship of the Saivite Ayyagalayyan of Jambukesvaram, from whom he received pancaksara upadesam.45 (This Saivaite saint figures in an inscription of modern characters at Jambukesvaram) One other reason is also provided by the Olugu to explain the Nayak’s hatred of his Acarya. We are told that once when the Nayak visited the Srirangam temple Annangar arranged a feast in which he displayed numerous silver and gold vessels which were, as the chronicler explains “all of them, excepting those supplied to Nayak really lead and brass vessels coated with silver and gold respectively at a cost of 100 pons. The Nayak wondered how, while in his palace there were but a few silver and gold vessels Annangar could command so many of them, and doubted whether his ancestors could have squandered away all the palace property in this sort of benefaction.” On another occasion, when a son was born to the Nayak, we are told, Annangar presented to him a gold cradle, worth 2,000 pons.45a (KO., pp.179-181; 112 of 1936-37) These incidents enraged the Nayak, who perhaps suspected the honesty of his guru. His attempts to check the temple property were are no avail. To attempt a verification of the above account a knowledge of the political background of the day is necessary. Though the loyallists won the civil war of 1614-17 the prince, for whom they fought (viz. Sriranga II) was murdered within four months of his accession and his son Rama (Rama IV) was made king with Yacama as regent. By this time both Penukonda and Candragiri had been lost to the Muslims and Vellore alone remained for the empire, each being called Vijayanagar, in its turn. Rama ruled as a nominal king from Vellore from 1617 to 1630. He was followed by Venkata III (1630-1642). He was troubled by the treacherous and rebellious schemes of his ambitious nephew Sriranga (III). He was the contemporary of Tirumala Nayak, whose allegiance to the Vijayanagar suzerein was only in form. Sriranga appealed to Bijapur for help and this brought about two Muslim

Sriranga appealed to Bijapur for help and this brought about two Muslim invasions, in 1638 and 1641. On the latter occasion Vellore was threatened. Thus conditions were quite opportune for the assumption of complete independence by the Nayak governors. Tirumala Nayak did not lose this opportunity and his wars with his neighbours amply bear this out. But, for theoretical purposes he was not averse to acknowledging the overlordship of the Raya. His active hostility against his suzerein started only when Sriranga III led a precipitate expedition against him with a view to punish him for failing to assist him in restoring his hegemony. At this time the Nayak had withdrawn to Madurai. Failing in his attempt at forming an alliance with the Nayak of Tanjore who remained loyal, he induced the sultan of Golkonda to attack Vellore.46 (Sathyanathier, Nayakas of Madura, pp.126-27) Hence it is not unlikely that Tirumala Nayak sent an effigy of his head to Venkata III in 1640 or sometime earlier as a kind of atonement for the disregard shown to his guru (Tatacarya) by his own guru (Annangar) at Srirangam and that he renounced his discipleship of the latter and became a disciple of a Saivite teacher of Jambukesvaram though the veracity of these statements cannot be vouchsafed. It is also not unlikely that after his conversion he turned hostile to the Vaisnava shrine in general as described in the Olugu. The statement of the chronicler that “he was at the same time learning the sudarsana mantra as the student of an arcaka at Srirangam” was written perhaps in an effort to save face. In any case Tirumala Nayak began to concentrate his attention after he shifted his capital to Madurai on the renovation of the Minaksi temple and perhaps had no opportunity to turn his attention again to Srirangam.

Inscriptions belonging to the period of Rama IV, Venkata III and Sriranga III
There are a few inscriptions in the Srirangam temple falling in the reigns of these kings (1617-1672). The smallness of their number is obviously due to the unsettled political conditions of the day. The absence of any inscription mentioning Tirumala Nayak may also be noted. The donors are mostly private persons. An inscription dated in S.1542 (A.D.1620) registers gift of money by Nallappillai on of Kandiyur Irulappar, for providing offerings to the god on the third day of the Masi festival, when the god was taken to the Ellaikkarai-mantapa constructed by him on the southern bank of the northern Kaveri (i.e., the Coleroon) 47 (67 of 1938-39; The Ellaikkaai mantapa is situated near the Coleroon bridge) An inscription dated 1634 registers gift of land by Nagaraja, son of Acyutayyaraja of the Gautama gotra, the tanapati of Ram devarayar for providing offerings to the god while he halted in the mantapa on the bank of the Candrapuskarani, during

the festival instituted by Krisnappa Nayaka.48 (45 of 1938-39) An inscription dated 1650 registers a polivuttu gift by Ceruka Cennama Nayakkan, son of Vengalappa Nayakkan, for specified offerings to the god on the occasion of the god’s visit to the mantapa in the grove, which was also given by the donor to the deity.49 (171 of 1951-52) An inscription dated 1655 records a gift (of money) by Vasantarayan for conducting the 6th day festival for the god Ranganatha, when the deity would be seated in the pavilion at Muttarasanallur, near Srirangam.50 (176 of 1951-52. Muttarasanallur is about 6 miles from Srirangam and today the deity is not taken to that place on the 6th day of any festival. According to the inscription it was taken on the “6th day festival” to a mantapa in that place) Lastly an epigraph dated 1661 registers a gift of money as poliyuttu to the temple treasury by a private person, potturaja Venganan, son of Tirumalai Nayakkar of Nandakula gotra for the 6th day festival of Adibrahmotsava and for other specified provisions for the god.51 (175 of 1951-52)

The Activities of the Christian Missionaries
The celebrated Roman Catholic missionary, Robert de Nobili, made Madurai the centre of his activities in 1606. In spite of his calling himself a Roman brahmin and his novel methods aimed at bringing about a change of heart among the natives from within he had to face opposition from the rulers and the orthodox Hindus. He quitted Madurai in 1623 and came to Thiruchirapalli in 1627 after staying for brief periods in Satyamangalam and Salame. In the latter year he organised a mission in Tiruccirappali.52 (Sathyanathier. The Nayaks of Madura, pp.261-71) Here too he had to face opposition and persecution. In 1638-39 all the missionaries in Thiruchirapalli were arrested and imprisoned, De Nobili sought, in 1644, an interview with Tirumala Nayak and obtained from him a promise of immunity from the prosecuting activities of his subordinate governors. In pursuance of his promise the Nayak issued orders to the local governors not to interfere with the missionaries and their work. The order, however, was disobeyed here and there. The two fathers of Thiruchirapalli who distinguished themselves during this period were Balthazar de Costa and Alvarez. They worked mainly among the lower strata of Hindu society like the Pariahs. When a terrible famine swept over this town in 1646-47 Alvarez stationed himself amid the depressed classes and mitigated their sufferings by giving treatment to patients coming from the neighbourhood of Thiruchirapalli. Such acts of humanity attracted men of high rank, many of whom joined the creed of

Alvarez and gave material aid to him. With the funds thus acquired Alvarez built two churches for the high castes, one in Thiruchirapalli and the other in the vicinity of Srirangam. The erection of the latter brought retribution to Alvarez immediately. There was a great uproar among the Hindus. Some soldiers captured Alvarez and took him before the governor of Thiruchirapalli, who imprisoned him and his followers. A heavy ranson was claimed for his release, which could not be paid as the missionaries were poor and destitute. The governor became indignant and expelled Alvarez out of Thiruchirapalli. De Costa, who was then working in Tanjore, proceeded to Madurai and sought the intervention of the Nayak, under whose orders Alvarez regained his position in Thiruchirapalli.53 (IA. XLVI, pp.261-71) COKKANATHA NAYAK (1659-1682) AND THE SRIRANGAM TEMPLE

Capital transferred back to Thiruchirapalli in 1665
Tirumala Nayak was succeeded by Muttu Virappa II, who ruled only for a few months in 1659. The next ruler of Madurai was Cokkanatha. His reign of more than twenty years was marked by wars and internal disturbances, which were often accompanied by famine and pestilence. The Jesuit missionaries, in their letters written from Thiruchirapalli, Madurai and other places, give lurid accounts of the disturbances and the consequent misery spread throughout the countryside.54 (The Nayaks of Madura, op.cit., pp.274-76, 284-85, etc.) The phantom of the Vijayanagar empire had disappeared. The feud between the Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjore continued. The Sultans of Bijapur and Golconda were sending their armies southward in the wake of the disappearance of the Hindu imperial power. The Muslims had captured Vellore and a few places belonging to the Nayaks of Madurai, Gingee and Tanjore. As Thiruchirapalli lay on the high road to the south the strategic and military importance of its rock-fort as a means of defence was quickly realised by Cokkanatha, who transferred the capital back to Thiruchirapalli in 1665. In effecting the transfer he seems to have displayed too much and undeserved enthusiasm. According to the evidence of the Jesuit fathers he dismantled portions of the magnificent palace, which Tirumala Nayak had recently erected for himself in Thiruchirapalli.55 (Ibid., pp.278-79) The first years of Cokkanatha’s rule from Thiruchirapalli, appear to have been not only peaceful but trumphant. For one thing the Jesuit letters covering the period 1667-1672 are not to be had. The native chronicles describe a victorious war which Cokkanatha waged (c.1673) against the Nayak of Tanjore, Vijayaraghava, because the latter refused to give his

Nayak of Tanjore, Vijayaraghava, because the latter refused to give his daughter in marriage to him. Tanjore was taken and his foster brother Alagiri Nayaka was appointed governor. On the eve of surrender Vijayaraghava blew up the royal harem and died fighting. His partisans, however, appealed to the sultan of Bijapur on behalf of Cengamaladas, said to be a grandson of the late king, who had escaped the calamity. The sultan of Bijapur sent his troops under the Mahiatta general Venkoji alias Ekoji to back Cengamaladas. These events ultimately resulted in the Mahratta occupation of Tanjore (1675) and introduced a new factor in South Indian politics. Sivaji, undertook his famous Carnatic expedition in 1677 and occupied Vellore, Gingee and other places Cokkanatha was beset with serious troubles from now on. Though the Mahrattas did not attack Thiruchirapalli has internal foes carried on intrigues with them to gain personal advantages. The king of Mysore added to the troubles of Cokkanatha by sending his armies, which made large in roads into his kingdom. Due to his failures, diplomatic and otherwise, his own nobles deposed him and enthroned his younger brother, Muttu Alakadri, in 1678. The new king was a weakling. He was captured and imprisoned the very next year by Rustum Khan, a Muslim adventurer and a former cavalry officer of Cokkanatha. The Mysore army now laid siege to Thiruchirapalli and Rustum Khan failed to make any impression on the besiegers. The nobles of the court grew tired of Rustum Khan’s misrule and captured and killed him in 1682 with the help of troops supplied by the Setupati of Ramnad. Cokkanatha was now freed and restored to his former kingship. At his instance the Mahrattas defeated and drove the Mysoreans out of the Madurai kingdom but occupied whatever they conqured and finally laid siege to Thiruchirapalli. Thoroughly broken down in mind and body Cokkanatha died within a year following his restoration. A resume of the above events was given just to show that neither these events not their social and economic consequences can even vaguely be interred from either the fairly numerous inscriptions of Cokkanatha in the Srirangam temple or the account of the Koil-Olugu bearing on his building and patronising activities. It has to be assumed that these belong to the earlier part of his reign from Thiruchirapalli i.e., A.D.1665-1675, in other words before the loss of Tanjore to the Mahrattas. This is confirmed by the chronology of Cokkanatha’s inscriptions in the Srirangam temple. The latter as well as the account in the Olugu certainly counter the impression of failure, darkness and misery created by a reading of the Jesuit letters of the period.

Inscriptions in the Srirangam temple belonging to the Period of Cokkanatha

From the inscriptions we know that some officers of state as well as the king made donations to the temple. Of these the earliest is dated 1666.56 (109 of 1937-38). It records the grant of a village, Hiranyamangalam by Visvanatha Nayakkan Cokkanatha Nayakkan to the Srirangam temple for offerings, etc., to the god on the sixth day of the Bhupatirayan festival, when the deity was taken to the sixteen pillared mantapa built by Narayana, son of Srestalur Krisnaiyangar, in the garden to the west of the Thousand pillared mantapa. The village was left in charge of this builder. Another inscription of the same year registers a gift of money by Muddirai Raman, son of Alagiya Singar, a satada Srivaisnava of the Srivatsa gotra for providing offerings to the God, when H halted in the mantapa to the north of the Tiruvali-alvan, (Cakrattalvar) shrine.56a (61 of 1938-39) The order was issued in the time of Cinnatambi Mudaliar the vasal prathani of Cokkanatha Nayak. The next inscription dated 1669 registers a gift of land in Umayapuram and Pirappangudi by Alagiri Nayaka, son of Cennama Nayaka, for offerings and worship to the god on the second day of the Bhupatirayan festival when the deity was taken to the Vitthalarajar mantapa.57 (110 of 1937-38) The donor may be identified with Alagiri, the foster brother of Cokkanatha. The next inscription dated in 1671 registers gift of land in Kutapara village in Ko-nadu by Basavappa Nayudu, son of Jangama Nayaka of the Kasyapa gotra for offerings and worship to the god on the eighth day of a festival instituted by Cokkanatha, when He was taken in procession to the Vasantavilasa mantapa in the Nacciyar toppu.58 (108 of 1937-38) Another inscription dated in the same year records gift of land to the (Ranganatha) temple by Pradhani codi-Alakadri, son of Kapa-Nayaka and grandson of Codi Alakadri Nayaka.59 (103 of 1937-38) A copper plate inscription of Cokkanatha dated in S.1595, Pramadi (A.d.1673), the year of his triumphant conquest of Tanjore, records his gift to the Srirangam temple of 96 villages mentioned by name, situated on either bank of the Kaveri. This may be regarded as a confirmatory deed rather than a gift of new villages.59a (This inscription appears as an Appendix to the Uttamanambivamsa prabavam published by S.Narasimhacaryar of Srirangam, said to belong to the Uttamanambi family. (Hoe & Co., Madras, 1912) The next two inscriptions are dated in 1674 and refer to the construction of the Gopalakrishna shrine by a certain Chinna Bommaya Naidu or Nayaka of Madurai.60 (102 and 104 of 1937-38, pt.II, para 76.) One registers the gift of a village, Olaikkudi, for offerings and worship to the image of the god, Astabhuja Gopalakrisna, consecrated in the shrine built by him between those of Curattalvan and Vittahae vara. The other registers a further gift of land by the same chief for offerings and

other registers a further gift of land by the same chief for offerings and worship to god Ranganatha while halting before the shrine of Gopalakrisna. Another inscription under the same date registers gift of a village by Kesaviraju, son of Ganaparaju and grandson of Venkatappa of the Srivatsa gotra for offerings and worship to the god Sriranganatha; and another village named Manjapuru for the worship of the image of Varadaraja and for the maintenance of a feeding house (Ramanuja kutam).61 (105 of 1938-39) Muddu (Muthu) Alakadri or Muddulinga Nayak, the younger brother of Cokkanatha, who was made king during 1678-79 appears as the donor in two inscriptions in the Srirangam temple. One registers his gift of ornaments and provisions for offerings and worship at the request of his teacher Acarya Vadhulai Cudamani. The other, dated in 1680, records his gift of a kancuka or vest inlaid with precious stones for God Ranganatha.62 (27 and 31 of 1938-39; p.II para 67) A Telugu copper plate record from the Raghavendra swami matha of Nanjagud, dated in S.1602 (Siddharti), A.D.1680, says the Muddalagadri Nayaka made a grant, on the bank of the Candrapuskarani in Rangaksetra, of a village on the bank of the Tamraarni in Srivaikuntam Taluk (Tinnevelly district) and a stone building to the west of the southern gopura in the Citra street of Srirangam to the Raghupati treasury of Yogindratirta-sripada-Odeyar, the son of Raghavendra-tirta Sripada-Odeyar.63 (Mysore Archaeological Report, 1917, para 138; summary in Sathyanathier, The Nayaks of Madura, p.360; also KO., p.191) An inscription dated in the same year (1680) registers a gift of land, by purchase, by Vadhula Desikar for offerings to God Ranganatha on several occassions, including the day on the which He was taken in procession to Kottai-Cennama Nayakkan mantapam.64 (1 of 1936-37) The donor was the Acarya of the Nayaks of this period. Cennama Nayakkan, the builder of a mantapa, was perhaps the same as the father of Alagiri Nayaka. The last day of the series is dated 1681.65 (Rangacarya, Topographical List, III.p.1571-No.492 H.) This states that Sriranganarayana Jiyar and other sthanikas of all kottus or groups of temple servants gave a quarters veli of land for offerings to the god. It is known from an undated Telugu inscription in the Srirangam temple that certain epigraphs relating to the endowments made by Cokkanatha Nayaka and Mangammagaru (his queen), having been removed by some miscreants, they were re-engraved and kept on the east side of the Tiruvannaligai at the instance of the servants of the temple.66 (1 of 193637) Obviously these have not seen the light of day for the epigraphs of Cokkanatha examined earlier are those found on the walls of the Garuda shrine in the third prakara of the temple.

shrine in the third prakara of the temple.

Royal patronage of Vaisnavism and the Srirangam Temple: The account in the Olugu:
It was seen above that Tirumala Nayak was a Vaisnava to begin with but later (c.1640) renounced the acaryaship of Pranadartihara Vaduladesikar or Annangar of Srirangam for his refusal to welcome Tatacarya of Kanchipuram and became a Saiva. From his seat in Madurai he began to patronise in a significant manner its Saiva temples. Cokkanatha too, as indicated by his name was a Saiva to begin with. His conversion to Vaisnavism came about, according to the Olugu in the following manner. Obviously encouraged by royal patronage an Advaittin called Vajrangi was preaching Saivism in Srirangam. The Stalattar of the temple invited Srinivasa Desikar to controvert his preachings. With Muttu Alakadri, Acyutappa, Krisnappa and Vallappa, the four brothers of Cokkanatha as mediators, a debate lasting 44 days took place between Srinivasadesikar and Vajrangi in the garden of Paksiraja, opposite to the Garuda shrine in the Srirangam temple.67 (Alagiri Nayaka, the foster brother of Cokkanatha, and Muttu Alakadri, his young brother, as known to the Jesuit letters. The Olugu, here, mentions three others besides Alakadri.) With their Saivite learning the mediators tried to favour the Advaitin but failed in their attempt. On inquiries they came to know that the ancestors of Srinivasa Desikar were the spiritual preceptors of their they renounced Saivism and sought spiritual guidance at the feet of the Vaisnava Acarya, who was no other than, the grandson of Annangar, descended from the line of Mudaliandan.68 (K.O., p.188) Sometime later Cokkanatha Nayak too sought spiritual guidance at the feet of the Vaisnava Acarya. We have seen above that an inscription refers to Muttu Alakadri as a sisya of Acarya Vadhulai Cudamai, i.e., the gem of the Acaryas of the Vadula gotra, to which the Kandadais belonged.69 (The genealogy of the Kandadais, the family of Mudaliandan, is given in the Annan Tirumaligai Olugu) Under the guidance of his Acarya Cokkanatha laid out, in Srirangam, many streets and aagrahars. He also made a fresh endowment of fifty villages and made over these along with the already existing forty villages to the temple treasury (the Sribhandara) accompanied by a deed of gift, which was referred to above. The Uttamanambi vamsaprabhavam says that these were what remained of the temple villages after the appropriations made by polegars and other petty chieftains and that they were left under the management of Uttamanambi Pillai Srinivasacaryar. Srinivasa Desikar, says the Olugu, tried his best to rehabilitate the code of regulations drawn up by Udayavar, with regard to the temple routine, and see that they were given

Udayavar, with regard to the temple routine, and see that they were given effect to. These regulations had either lapsed or well ill-executed considerably ever since the Rayas of Vijayanagar assumed direct control over the temple administration. During the regime of Bhattar (Tirumalacaryar) and his men no attempt was made in this direction. As a descendent of Mudaliandan Srinivasa Desikar obtained all the honours due to Andan, i.e., the office of Senapati durantara. “He collected together a hundred Vaisnava preceptors and appointed them to do the services (connected with puja etc.,) in the sanctum and from a congregation of Vedic reciters, under his own direction. He also laid down that non-Vaisnavas need not enter the temple.”70 (K.O., p.187-89) With the help of his royal pupil the Acarya repaired many mantapas and prakaras and constructed a four pillared mantapa for the performance of the evening rite (to guard the deity against evil eyes), known as tiruvandikkappu, to the north of the Nan-mugan gopura and endowed a few villages for a festival to be conducted therein. This Tiruvandikkappu mantapa bears a life size Nayak image on one of its pillars and this most probably represents Cokhanatha Nayak. The northern counter-part of this mantapa, opposite the Nacciyar shrine, now called the Kambar mantapam, is of the same size and style and may be attributed to the same king.71 (This mantapa is supposed to commemorate the arangetral approval by an academy of poets) of the Ramayana of Kambar. According to pious tradition this work received its imprimateur in Srirangam before an assembly of pandits, persided over by Nathamuni, the first Vaisnava Acarya Kambar is said to have composed a centum on Nammalvar, called the Satakopar-andadi in order to please God Ranganatha before i.e, could obtain His approval for the Ramayana. It is also said that Mettlagiyasingar, i.e, Narasimha on the neighbouring gopura, roared in approval of the work. The story is told in full in Vinodarasamanjari (1927), pp.147-220; see also Sen Tamil XXV, pp.308-9. Kamban is generally regarded as the contemporary of Ottakkuttan, who lived in the courts of the three successive Cola kings, Vikrama Cola, Kulottunga II and Rajaraja II (i.e. 1120-1163). Nathamuni came at least a century and a half earlier and hence, Kamban could not have been his contemporary. The view that Kamban was the author of the Stakopar-andadi seems to be the origin and fertile source of their tradition; and it has to be said that this view is not accepted on all hands. The authorship of the andadi is a doubtful and disputed point) Of his own accord Srinivasa Desikar is said to have offered to the god jewels worth four lacs of pons, "“representing virtue, wealth, devotion and moksa”. He inspected the treasury and the store house of the temple and made a list of the various items. The voluables like the jewels, etc., were also examined and arranged in their proper places. He also recognised the accounts of the

temple under four categories as well as the tirta and other honours due to the Acarya Purusas. The old system of preferential honours or graduation seems to have been given up in favour of equaity among these in the matter of worship. More tirta honours were also created in the temple, eleven according to the Olugu, to be distributed among the lesser dignitaries; while going this due weightage appears to have been given to the Kandadais, i.e., members belong to the family of Mudaliyanda.72 (KO., p.190) The Nacciyar shrine and the various mantapas in the outer prakaras are said to be the benefications of Cokkanatha Nayak.73 (Ibid.) Regarding Muttu Alakadri’s benefactions to the temple the Olugu says that after S.1600, (in the year Siddharti (A.D.1680) he gave to the god of Srirangam a gold suryaprabha, a golden umbrella, a diamond shirt, a golden throne, a diamond crown, a diamond ornament for the head (turai) and innumerable jewels and vessels. He is said to have made these benefactions under the guidance of Kumara Srinivasa Desikar, the son of his Acarya.74 (Ibid.) The inscription referring to his gift of a kancuka or vest inlaid with precious stones has been considered earlier.

A Case of Royal demand on the grain of the temple:
The chronicles of Srirangam, viz., the Uttamanambivamsa prabhavam and the Koil-Olugu refer to a zealous warden of the Srirangam temple who sacrificed his life as a protest against the royal appropriation of paddy from the temple store during a certain famine. The former says that when a certain Nayak was ruling the country there was a great famine all over the land and that the Nayak came to the temple with a view to take away all the paddy from the temple store for palace use. Uttamanambi, the manager of the temple, refused to surrender any paddy. When the Nayak persisted he measured out two marakkals of paddy saying ‘Tiruvarangam’ and ‘Periakoil’, and on the third occasion plunged the marakkal into his stomach and measured out his own bowels and died a martyr in the cause of the temple property. Thus overcome the Nayak abandoned his attempt and retired from the temple. The Vamsaprabhavam makes the Uttamanambi identical with Kudal-Cakravala Nambi, who figures in the inscription of Garudavahana Bhatta dated 1492, while the Olugu identifies him with Cakraraya, the brother of Valiyadimai-nilaiyitta Uttamanambi (1407-50).75 (KO., pp.155-56) The latter gives only a brief reference to the incident saying that Cakraraya “measured out his own bowels to the royal servant who came to take paddy from the store house.” As the Jesuit accounts make a prominent mention of famines caused by the frequent wars of the

reign of Cokkanatha and as the Vamsaprabhavam refers to a Nayak it is probable that the incident took place during his reign; but it is surprising that the chronicles are so vague here while dealing with such a late period as that of the Nayaks while they are more helpful elsewhere while relating events belonging to this or even an earlier period. If the incident is to be regarded as true, as it most likely is, - and similar instances of sacrifice of life in protest against exactions by state officials have been noticed above, - the cause of the confusion in date seems to be in the name itself, viz., Kudalsaravala Nainar, which may mean one who died by disembowelling himself, being identified with Kudal Cakravala Nambi, or Nainar, whose date is known from inscriptions, (14..2)76 (81 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 49; EI. XXIV., p.90 ff.) Hence the whole story need not be summarily rejected as a Euhemerian tale based on the misreading of Kudal (Madurai) as kudal (bowels) by some uninformed scribe or scribes. THE SUCCEESSORS OF COKKANATHA NAYAK AND THEIR BENEFACTIONS (1682-1736)

Muttu Virappa III (1682-90)
Cokkanatha was succeeded by his son Ranga Krisna Muttu Virappa or Muttu Virappa III. The Koil-Olugu refers to his persecution of the family of his own Acarya. Misguided by one Tiruvenkatanatha Aiyan, an officer of state, he is said to have surrounded the house of his teacher, captured his sons and tortured them. One of his brothers was killed. The aged Srinivasa Desikar cursed him with a vile death in six months. In three months he contracted ulcers all over his body and erelong he died Mangammal, his mother, was unable to bear the conduct of her son and is said to have quitted Thiruchirapalli on the pretext of a pilgrimage to Ramesvaram.77 (KO., pp.191-192) It is not possible to verify this account of persecution. From a Jesuit letter it is known that this Nayak died of small pox.78 (Sathiyanathier, The Nayaks of Madras, p.203) It is likely that the chronicler was magnifying some injustice or injury done to the preceptor by the Nayak towards the close of his reign. That he was not hostile to Vaisnavism of the Srirangam temple is shown by an inscription, dated in S.1613, Pramoduta, (A.D.1690) which refers to his restoration of certain rights and privileges son of in the Ranganatha and temple grandson to of Kumara Acci Venkata Sriranga Varadacarya, Varadacarya

Narayanacarya of the Gargya gotra.79 (106 of 1937-38; para 77, pt.II. This record identically, extends the reign of this Nayak by one year. Following the Mryuntajaya manuscript Sathyanathier adopted 1689 for the

Following the Mryuntajaya manuscript Sathyanathier adopted 1689 for the death of Muttu Virappa III. This record confirms the date given in the Maduraittalavaralaru. It mentions a certain Virapratapa Viradeva Maharaya ruling at Ghanagiri (Penukonda) as sovereign Ghangiri had long ago ceased to be the capital of the Rayas. Later records too dated in A.D.1706, etc., particularly of Vijayaranga Cokkanatha (A.D.1706-1732), mention a certain suzerain, a Raya ruling from Ghanagiri. This is a good example of historical anachronism. The scribe appears to have blindly copied the invocatory portions of former inscriptions. See IA XLVI-1917, p.239, note 96) These rights had been in the enjoyment of the family from the time of Udayavar (Ramanuja) but had lapsed when some of his ancestors went to the north to participate in religious disputations with the Saivas. Ranga Krisna Mutta Virappa is said to have given to Kumara Venkata Varadacaryar a tirtadi danadharma sasanam, a deed regulating in what order and by whom tirtam etc. were to be received. Two inscriptions speak of the gifts of his wife to the temple. Muddammgaru, the queen of Sriranga Krisna Mudduvirappa Nayaka, according to these inscriptions, made a gift of a gold kirita to God Sriranganatha in the year Prabhava (1688) and in the next year, Vibhava (1689), she made a gift of two villages, Isanaikura and Nanakura, to Srinivasayya, evidently Srinivasa Desikar, for maintaining a Ramanujakutam and for worship and Sahasranamarcana of the god.80 (3 and 4 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 66) PATRONAGE OF MANGAMMAL (1690-1706) When Muttu Virappa III died his son Vijayaranga Cokkanatha was a child. Hence upto 1706 his mother, Mangammal, acted as regent. During this period all the southern powers except Gingee, under Rajaram, the second son of Sivaji, submitted to the Mughal imperial authority at Delhi. Following the example of the majority Mangammal paid tribute to Zulfikar Khan, the general of Aurangzeb (1693) and maintained peace in the kingdom. The Tamil and Telugu chronicles of Madurai and the Carnatic are full of accounts of her generosity. She was an arch-benefactress. She gave gifts without distinction of caste or community. A copper plate inscription of 1701 states that she made a gift of some villages near Thiruchirapalli to a Muslim darga belonging to Baba Natta. She spent much money in laying out roads and erecting catrams throughout her kingdom. Two inscriptions in the Srirangam temple mention her as ruler. One dated 1696 states that Samavedi Ramaiyangar alias Sriranga Kalyana Ramanuja Ramaipangar, the nephew of Periya Kalyana Ramanujasvamin, succeeded the latter in the supervision of the affairs of the Dasavatara temple in Srirangam.81 (100 of 1936-37) The other dated 1697 records the conferment of the title Jiyar of Tirumangai Alvar Sannidhi

1697 records the conferment of the title Jiyar of Tirumangai Alvar Sannidhi on a certain Ramaiyangar under the name Narayana Jiyar.82 (102 of 193637) His duties were specified; he was to supervise the general administration of the shrine as also the periodical renovations of its various structures. The Koil-Olugu gives details of Mangammal’s patronage of the

Srirangam temple. As soon as she assumed power, says the Olugu, she restored his previous status to Kumara Srinivasa Desikar, who had been persecuted by her son, Muttu Virappa III. Kumara Srinivasa Desikar was succeeded by his son Sundararaja Vaduladesikar as the head of the Srikaryam of the Srirangam temple. The uncle of the latter, by name Srirangaraja Vaduladesikar, usuerped the position of his nephew and as the Acarya of Mangammal became famous as Dorai Rangacaryar. With the help of the queen Rangacaryar offered to Sriranganatha a huge pearl necklace, a pendent, decorated with diamonds, and a diamond crown. In 1691 she performed the tulabhara ceremony and offered a huge treasure to the god. She further offered to the deity seven kinds of jewels for seven days of the week and many gold vessels for puja. Her preceptor is said to have offered, of his own accord, some jewels, a pearl ear-ornament and a palanquin for the Nacciyar. VIJAYARANGA SRIRANGAM TEMPLE COKKANATHA NAYAK (1706-32) AND THE

Vijayarangam Cokkanatha was first and last a religious minded and pious ruler. Fortunately for him there was no serious political disturbance and there was hence no threat to his own security. He had the least care for affairs temporal and, like Vijayaraghava of Tanjore, was always concerned with religious tours and extravagant gifts to temples. As a result official corruption and oppression became rampant and disruptive tendencies began to gather momentum. His reign, in other words, was marked by the peace of decadence. The internal dissolution ultimately ended in 1736, after a brief reign of four years of his wife Minakshi, in the establishment of the power of Candasaheb over Thiruchirapalli and the disappearance of the Nayak kingdom. Ironically enough this rule of perhaps the weakest king of

Thiruchirapalli and Madurai was the best from the standpoint of patronage of religion and religious institutions of the day, and the Srirangam temple was the greatest beneficiary. Local tradition regards him as the most magnificent benefactor of the temple belonging to modern times. As testified to by two Telugu labels engraved on two beams of the Dorai Mantapa, one in its northern wing, i.e., in the northern side of the second prakara and

its northern wing, i.e., in the northern side of the second prakara and another in its western wing, i.e., in the western side of the same prakara, the Veda-parayana mantapa was built by him.83 (10 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 68. The epigraphical report refers to the prakara as third prakara whereas it is second according to the arrangement followed here.) It is probable that the Adyayanotsava was held here at this time and that it was called after Dorai Rangacaryar. A copper plate grant records his gift of land for the conduct of a charity at Srirangam.84 (A.Rangacarya, Topographical list, III, p.1565, No.441) The Koil-Olugu says that Srinivasa Desikar, the son of Dorai Rangacaryar, offered to the god the following gifts of Vijayaranga Cokkanatha: pancapatra and plates, one pot-like vessel, one tirtam container, an ornamental seat and various other paraphernalia of worship, all in gold, and many jewels, a crown and diamond and gold shirts for the Perumal and the Ubhaya Naccimar (i.e., the utsavaberas). He is said to have constructed the Kannadiyarai (room of mirrors) and laid the procession path beginning from the pavitra mantapa, i.e., the pavement of the western wing of the second prakara, including the pillared corridor. With the intention of making a permanent endowment in his name he is said to have offered to the temple, with the permission of the Stalattar, eight courtesans, who had practised dancing in his natakasala for services in the presence of Ranganatha. He is also said to have made an endowment of 10,000 gold pieces for a kudamural of 15 days of the nine devadasis who were the hereditary servants of the temple.85 (Kudamurai refers to the right of a devadasi to carry pots of water in the divine presence) For both the groups the Nayak assigned the west street and created a number of rights, honours and services in the temple. Among other benefactions of the Nayak are mentioned many gold pots and silver pots, 360 pitambaras for the kaisika dvadasi day and a 1,000 copper pots for the periya tirumanjanam (Sahasrakalasabhisekam). It is also suggested that he stayed in the Srirangam temple, probably at intervals, and supervised the conduct of the daily fortnightly festivals and supplies therefor as well as the construction of the mantapas, etc.86 (KO., pp.1945, The year Sarvajit mentioned in p.194 corresponds to S.1630 and not S.1619) The Durga Temple at Samayapuram (Kannanur) is attributed to him by local tradition. Vijayaranga Cokkanatha was a scholar in Telugu. He was the author of two Telugu works Sriranga Mahatmya and Tulakaveri Mahatmya. He was a patron of the arts of music, dance and drama. In addition to the evidence of the Olugu, mentioned above, two inscriptions from Jambukesvaram, dated in 1722 and 1723, refer to the donor of a certain mantapa in the Saiva temple there as Patakam Vaidyappayya, the son of Venkatesvarayya, an instructor in the theatre-hall (natakasala-siksakam of Vijayaranga








Cokkanatha. The theatre, it is suggested, was attached to the royal palace at Thiruchirapalli.87 (48 and 49 of 1937-38; pt.II, para 84) The two lifesize statues of ivory of the Nayak and his consort (Minaksi) kept in the western promenade of the second enclosure of the temple are constant reminders of the great devotion which he had for Ranganatha. This group includes his adopted son, Vijayakumara and his wife. They appear to be approaching the deity singing and dancing in great devotion. These were set up probably by Vijayaranga Cokkanatha himself or his son. One more instance of the struggle for power among the stalattar of the temple is provided by the Olugu, which says that after S.1642 (A.D.1720) Vedavyasa Bhattar Raghunathcaryar collected together a large number of people on the pretence of a religious gathering and “defied royal authority by plundering the shops and closing the gates of the sample”. The object evidently was to discredit Kumara Srinivasa Desikar, who was basking in the limelight of royal favour. After a siege of two months one Irulappa Nayak captured him and took him to the king. Vijayaranga ordered the rebels to be blinded. The preceptor of the king, in a spirit of generosity, interceded on behalf of Raghunathacaryar and saved him from the sentence. He was, however, made over to the Tondaimahar, i.e., the Raja of Puddukottah, where he remained a prisoner, for twelve years.88 (KO., pp.194-195) QUEEN MINAKSI (1732-36): THE LAST OF THE NAYAKS Vijayaranga Cokkanatha left no son and was succeeded by his queen Minaksi (1732-36). Bangaru Tirumala, the father of Vijayakumar, the adopted son of the late king, claimed the throne on behalf of his son and this started a civil war. Chanda Saheb, a son-in-law of Dost Ali, the Nawab of Arcot, and who was ostensibly sent to collect tribute from Thiruchirapalli and Tanjore took advantage of the civil war, pretented to espouse the cause of Minaksi by taking an oath of friendship on the Guram and finally imprisoned her in heir own palace in the fortress of Thiruchirapalli. Stung by the indignities heaped upon her by Chanda’s men the unfortunate queen took poison and died in 1736.89 (Sathyanathier, The Nayaks of Madura, pp.23334; IA XLVI pp.217-19 and 237-41) According to an inscription dated in the cyclic year Ananda, corresponding to 1735, on the beam of a four pillared mantapa of polished stone in the western side of the first prakara (Rajamahendran enclosure) it was erected by Minaksi, the pattamahisi of Vijayaranga Cokkanatha.90 (101 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 67; following the traditional order the Annual

of 1938-39; pt.II, para 67; following the traditional order the Annual Report calls the prakara, where the inscription is found, the second prakara).

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Events of Today

Chapter 10



Chanda Saheb’s exactions on the Srirangam temple: 1736-40:
After occupying the fortress of Thiruchirapalli and strengthening its defences Canda Saheb turned against Bangaru Tirumala and his son Vijayakumara, who had taken refuge with the polegars of Sivaganga and Ramnad. Alarmed at this Bangaru Tirumala fled to Tanjore, whose king Sayaji, in his turn was being pressed by the men of Canda Saheb to pay tribute to the Nawab. The co-sufferers, Bangaru Tirumala and Sayaji, sent a joint application for help to the Mahrattas at Poona. The latter, under the inspiration of Baji Rao I (1720-40), the enterprising Peswa who had inaugurated a forward policy, promptly answered the appeal and sent a sizeable expeditionary force under Raghuji Bhonsle and Fateh Singh. Dost Ali, the Nawab of Arcot, who tried to intercept it, was defeated and killed in the battle of Damalcheru pass (1740). The Mahrattas then laid a siege to Tiruccirapalli. Canda Saheb shut himself up in the fort and help up bravely for three months. The Mahrattas cut off all supply routes and defeated relief forces from Madurai and Dindigul. When food and provisions were exhausted Canda Saheb capitulated. The Mahrattas plundered the region round Thiruchirapalli before they retired to Satara with Canda Saheb and his followers taken captive. Murari Rao Ghorpade, at the head of 14,000 soldiers, was placed in command of Thiruchirapalli. The Koil-Olugu says that during his three year’s rule Canda Saheb tried to attack Srirangam in the year Raktaksi and pressed the stalattar of the temple to pay tribute and that Parasara Bhattar, Vaduladesikar, Uttamanambi and others joined together and paid to Canda Saheb one lakh of rupees. Thus the temple was saved. This amount, it is said, was raised with the help of some jewels of the temple and by levying taxes like kani vari, manai vari and adtna vari in Uraiyur, The Olugu also refers to the “Mahratta invasion and rule for the next three year’s i.e., from 1740 to 1743, and adds that neither during the occupation of Canda Saheb nor during the Mahratta occupation did the Perumal quit the Bhupalarayan, i.e., the seat of the procession images; in other words there was no occasion for the deity being removed from the temple for purposes of security.1 (KO., pp.195-96. The cyclic years mentioned viz., Plavanga for Canda Sahib’s

pp.195-96. The cyclic years mentioned viz., Plavanga for Canda Sahib’s capture of Thiruchirapalli and Raktaksi for his attempt to sack the Srirangam temple are wrong for they correspond to 1729 and 1745 respectively) The Uttamanambi-vamsaprabhavam says that Korappatti Murari Rao (Murari Rao Ghorpade) granted 57 villages as jagir to the Srirangam temple, 14 to the Jambukesvaram temple and 9 to the temple of Tayumanaswami on the rock of Thiruchirapalli, and that he appointed Srirangacarya Uttamanambi as jagirdar of these 80 villages.2 (No.88 in the Vamsaprabhavam) This was no fresh gift and was obviously in partial confirmation of Cokkanatha Nayak’s grant. THE TEMPLE DURING THE CARNATIC WARS 1743-63 The ambition of Canda Saheb led to a chain of events which engulfed practically the whole of South India in a series of campaigns in which the forces of the Nawab of Arcot, the Nizam of Hyderabad, the English and the French at Madras and Pondicherry respectively, the Mahrattas and the rulers of Tanjore and Mysore took part. The nerve centre of the warfare throughout was the fort of Thiruchirapalli overlooking the neighbourhood including Srirangam and under such circumstances the temple and the town had their own quota of sufferings. The Olugu prefaces the portion dealing with this period by saying “In Sake 1650 (a mistake for S.1658) Karunatagam (i.e., the kingdom of the Carnatic meaning thereby the Nayak kingdom) collapsed and many rulerships arose. The temple services and festivities were frittered away and the temple was faced with many difficulties.”3 (KO., p.195) The contending forces used the Srirangam temple as a fortress camp as its high walls and power gateways offered protection. The occupants were often tempted to raise money and provisions by harassing the citizens and the temple authorities Devoid of any guard or militia of its own the stalattar of the temple had to purchase peace everytime at a heavy price. Occasionally luck favoured them and the occupying force had to leave the temple in a huff without collecting money as it was seriously threatened by its enemy elsewhere.

Nizam-ul-Mulk’s expedition: 1743
In 1743 Asaf Jah Nizam-vl-Mulk marched from Haiderabad to the Carnatic with the definite intention of establishing his supremacy there. Taking advantage of a succession dispute in Arcot he imposed his own nominee, Anwaruddin, a general in his army, as the Nawab of Arcot. Murari Rao Georpade surrendered the fort of Thiruchirapalli when he threatened to lay siege to it and quitted the Carnatic. Thus the Nizam established easily his control over both Arcot and Thiruchirapalli. Till his death in 1748 he

exercised unquestioned authority over the territories of Haiderabad and Arcot. During this period the Srirangam temple, it appears, did not suffer either from insecurity or from exactions. The Koil-Olugu says that when the Nizam invaded the country with a great army all the stalattar met him in Samayapuram with their birudas, honoured him with tirtam and prasadam and befriended his officers. “Thenceforwards the Muhammadans spread their sway everywhere. Nevertheless Bhupalarayan.”4 (Ibid., pp.196-97) the Perumal did not quit the

The death of Asaf Jah in 1748 and the release of Canda Sahed from the prison of the Mahrattas the same year led to succession disputes both the Haiderabad and Arcot. As is well known to students of Indian History Canda Saheb formed an alliance with Muzaffar Jang, a grandson of Asaf Jah and a claimant to the throne of Haiderabad, the Dupleix, the French governor of Pondicherry. After making preparations he advanced against Anwaruddin. On 23 July 1749 the combined forces of the allies defeated and killed Nawab Anwaruddin in the battle of Ambur. Muzaffar Jang easily occupied Arcot but the fortress of Thiruchirapalli could not be captured as it was stoutly defended by Muhammad Ali, the son of Anwaruddin. Mohammad Ali declared his loyalty to Nazir Jang, the son and successor of Asaf Jah, and appealed to the English at Madras for help, which was granted after some hesitation. Nazir Jang received letters from Muhammad Ali explaining the activities of his rival Muzaffar Jang, in the Carnatic. With a large army, which included Mahratta mercenaries under Murari Rao Ghorpade, he marched to the Carnatic, won a victory over his enemies at Valudavur, near Gingee, took Muzaffar Jang prisoner and occupied Arcot (April 1750). But in the battle of Gingee, fought a few months later, he was defeated and killed. The exultant Muzaffar Jang, who proceeded to Haiderabad accompanied by the French general Bussy to invest himself with the office of Nizam, was himself killed on the way by the Pathan Jagirdars of Kurnool and Cuddapah. Acting on his own discretion Bussy proclaimed Salabat Jang, a brother of Nazir Jang, Nizam.

The Siege of Thiruchirapalli Successive occupation of Srirangam by the English and the French and their evacaution 1751.
Canda Saheb was now free to settle issues with Muhammad Ali, who had shut himself up in the fort of Thiruchirapalli and taken every precaution

to withstand a prolonged siege. With a sizable army, he left Arcot, subdued all Jagirdars who still owed allegiance to Muhammad Ali and finally laid siege to the impregnable rock fort of Thiruchirapalli. Muhammad Ali sent urgent appeals for help to the English at Madras and Cuddalore and in February and April 1751 contingents of European and Indian troops under captions Dalton and Gingen and Liue tenant Clive took the field against the forces of Canda Saheb and his French allies operating outside Tiruccirappali. They were joined by the troops despatched by Muhammad Ali. Canda Saheb now led his forces against these, but suffered a reverse at Vridhacalam. At Valikandapurm, however, he won a victory. Here the infantry and cavalry of Muhammad Ali took such a fright of Canda Saheb’s army that they struck a precipitate retreat, which did not stop despite the efforts of the English generals till they reached the walls of the Thiruchirapalli fort. The English generals rallied together a part of the fleeing army and camped at Uttatur, about 25 miles north of Thiruchirapalli. Before Canda Saheb reached the same place, however, the generals, fearing that their enemy might try to intercept the road between their camp and Thiruchirapalli, preferred to retreat and quietly decamped from Uttatur. After a continuous march of 18 hours they reached Biksandarkoil on the northern bank of the Coleroon. Here it was first proposed to make a stand, but later orders were issued to the whole army to cross over the Coleroon to the island of Srirangam, with the view that the seven walled shrine at Srirangam offered better means of security than Biksandarkoil. The English troops and those of the Nawab entered the Srirangam temple and were admitted by the priests with great reluctance into the three outer enclosures, which provided more room than was required, and with earnest solicitations imploring them not to carry the stain of their pollution nearer the sanctum. Here they had no fear of their communication with Thiruchirapalli being cut because the enemy if he made any such attempt came under direct cannon fire from the rock fort. Obsessed by a spirit of retreat as well as lack of confidence the army, ere long, decided to quit Srirangam and take shelter behind the walls of Thiruchirapalli justifying themselves at the same time by a suspicion that the outer wall of the temple was in a state of dilapidation and by the though that the extent of the shrine was too big to be defended. No sooner the Nawab’s army evacuated Srirangam than the army of Canda Saheb and the French, who followed them, occupied it. Koviladi, a mud fort situated at the eastern extremity of the Srirangam island was not abandoned by the Nawab’s troops during the retreat to Thiruchirapalli and it was manned by a small contingent. Canda Saheb stormed this fort and drove the defenders across the Kaveri, many of whom, even while they were

wading through it, were hotly pursued and killed. Against his expectations Captain Gingen’s attempt to rescue them under cover of fire from Thiruchirapalli proved futile. Encouraged by this action Canda Saheb, without any more delay, crossed the Kaveri, leaving a small garrison in Srirangam, and encamped with the rest of his army outside the eastern gate of Thiruchirapalli. Canda Saheb now concentrated all his attention on the blockade, and supplies to the beleaguered garrison became difficult. At the suggestion of Muhammad Ali and with the approval of the English governor, Saunders, Clive effected the celebrated diversion to Arcot (August 1751).5 (Tuzaki Wulajahi by Burhan Ibn Hassan, translated and edited by Muhammad Hussain Nainar, (University of Madras 1946), Vol.II, pp.87-90) His capture of Arcot, however, did not materially affect the siege of Thiruchirapalli. The French mounted two 18 pounders on a rock, which came to be known as the French rock, about a mile south-east of Thiruchirapalli and also erected a battery of two guns on the island of Srirangam. The guns on the French rock and in Srirangam were too distant to make any impression on the defences of the rock-fort, and they were utilised mainly to cut off communications with the fort from the south and the north.

The French and Canda Saheb shut in Srirangam (March-June 1752)
Muhammad Ali was growing desperate with his revenues and supplies running short. While his English ally and protector within the fort, Captain Gingen, was prone to rest content with the policy of preserving his men hoping that the enemy would soon fatigue his troops and exhaust his ammunition. Taking the initiative for a second time he appealed to the king of Mysore (Cikka Krisnaraja 1734-66) for help. The effect which this appeal had clearly shows that the affairs of Thiruchirapalli were being carefully watched by the neighbouring powers. A contingent of the Mysore army under the command of Nandi Raja (Nanjaraja) immediately marched to the relief of Thiruchirapalli. On the way it was joined by the Mahrattas under Murari Rao, who had been waiting for a vourable opportunity to recover Thiruchirapalli, after he had surrendered it to Asaf Jah in 1743. The English were now prepared to send reinforcements and help Muhammad Ali more effectively. Under cover of a continuous fire maintained by Captains Cope and Dalton the Mysore army and the Mahrattas numbering 12,000 horse and 8,000 foot reached the fort on 6 February 1752. This junction induced the Raja of Tanjore to contribute 3,000 horse and 2,000 foot towards the relief of Thiruchirapalli. This force was commanded by Manaji.

Some of the polegars also sent reinforcements. Thus the army of Muhammad Ali suddenly swelled to 20,000 cavalry and an equal number of foot-soldeirs while that of Canda Saheb numbered 15,000 horse and 20,000 foot.6 (Robert Orme, Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan, Vol.1, p.208) In the meanwhile an English reinforcement under Major Lawrence and Caption Clive, consisting of 400 European troops and 1,100 Indian sepoys, with eight field pieces, left Fort St.David for Thiruchirapalli. A French contingent under Jacques Law proceeded, under the command of Dupleix, to intercept the English force and a hotly contested battle was fought near the Golden Rock, three miles south of Thiruchirapalli, in which both parties made full use of their cannon. The French were defeated and the contingent sent by Canda Saheb routed. Jacques Law was so much alarmed by this defeat that he immediately decided to withdraw the entire force from Thiruchirapalli and take refuge in the temples in the island of Srirangam. Canda Saheb protested against his move but had to agree. Law quartered his troops in the Jambukesvaram temple while those of Canda Saheb found shelter inside the walls of the Srirangam temple. Major Lawrence, who wanted to follow up his victory, conceived the bold plan of attacking the enemy from the rear and with this intention he sent a body of 300 Europeans, 700 sepoys and 3,000 Mahrattas with two battering cannons and six field pieces under the command of Clive to the north of the Coleroon on 6 April 1752. To conceal their march the army took a circuitous route; it crossed the rivers, Kaveri and Coleroon, three miles east of Jambukesvaram and reached Samayapuram (Kannanur) the next day. The two temples in that village, i.e., those of Bhojisvara (Postesvara) and Sellaji, were occupied and fortified. When Dupleix came to understand the plight of his army, which was about to be hemmed in between the two allied forces at Thiruchirapalli and Samayapuram, he sent 120 Europeans and 500 sepoys with four field pieces under D’Auteuil to reinforce the French army on the island of Srirangam. Clive tried to intercept this force and prevent the junction of D'A’teuil with Jacques Law in Srirangam but the former cautiously withdrew. In the confusion of a night engagement in Samayapuram Clive was actually captured by a body of Frenchmen despatched by Law but his extraordinary pluck and presence of mind came to his rescue and he escaped by speaking French and acting as a French soldier.7 (For full details, Ibid., pp.222-25) In the morning the French were overpowered and put to rout. The Mahrattas under Innis Khan, a trusted general of Murari Rao, pursued them and out of the 700 soldiers in flight, it is said, not one was left alive. D’Auteuil, who had withdrawn to Uttatur, was defeated and put to flight by Dalton, who advanced north from

Thiruchirapalli. Clive too proceeded against another French post at Biksandarkoil and stormed it. With this the main line of communication with the beleaguered gerrison in Srirangam and Jambukesvaram was effectively cut off. Writing in his dairy under date 30 May 1752 Ananda Ranga Pillai, the well known dubash and courtier of Dupleix, states: “Today I heard the following news. Of the troops at Srirangam with Canda Saheb, M.Law, etc., only 300 troopers have received any pay for the last six months; the rest have had no money to live on and have suffered much by the enemy’s blockade….. They intended to have destroyed the Srirangam temple just as they destroyed the Jambukesvaram temple; but the temple people saved it for the present by giving them 60,000 rupees and the grain stored there. No one knows what will be done. They have paddy and rice for a month, but cannot get salt or other provisions. The Cauvery and the Coleroon are full of water ……..”7a (Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai (ed. By Dodwell, published by the Madras Government 1922, vol.VIII, p.103.) Destruction of the Jambukesavan temple perhaps refers to its spoliation)

The Execution of Canda Saheb:
Realising that Canda Saheb and the French were effectively blockaded in the island of Srirangam Manaji, the Tanjore general, made bold to cross the river Kaveri and at once succeeded in wresting Koviladi from the French. The soldiers of Canda Saheb lost heart and they began, one by one, to desert their master. 2,000 of his best horses and 1,500 sepoys left Srirangam and joined Clive at Samayapuram; some joined the Mysore army in Thiruchirapalli and some others like the Marawas returned to their homes. Only 2,000 horses and 3,000 foot remained with Canda Saheb in Srirangam; among the foot, there was a body of 1,000 Rajaputs, who zealously defended the inner shrines of the Srirangam temple against all intruders. This helped the pujas and festive rituals to be performed as usual. Jacques Law in Jambukesvaram was eagerly expecting the arrival of relief forces under D’Auteuil. The latter was actually rehabilitating his army at Valikandapuram when Clive with a company of 100 Europeans, 1,000 sepoys and 2,000 Mahrattas and six field pieces advanced against him. D’Auteuil once again tried to withdraw but his men were hotly pursued by the Mahrattas and forced to fight. They were defeated and many were imprisoned. The rest were disarmed and disbanded (9 June 1752). When Law heard of this disaster he knew that everything was lost. To him the greatest burden was the person of Canda Saheb, who was promptly informed of the urgency of taking steps to secure his own personal safety. Canda

Saheb was convinced that he could escape only with the connivance of one of the enemy confederates. He chose the Tanjore general Manaji to confide in because, according to Burhan Ibn Hasan, he planned to go to Pondicherry via Karikal, the route of which lay through the territory of Tanjore.8 (Tuzaki Walajahi, II, p.119-122) Law agreed with this proposal and opened secret negotiation with Manaji. Some counsellors of Canda Saheb, however, strongly protested declaring that no enemy was to be trusted and offered to conduct their master to Karikal by secret passages. “But”, says Burhan Ibn Hasan, “there was ready the retribution for the oath taken on the praiseworthy and the holy quran, in the course of his dealings with the Rani of Trichinopoly; the retaliation for the blood unjustly shed, of Nawab SirajudDaula Anwarruddin Khan Bahadur, the Amir of the Carnatic and for the murder of Nawab Nazir Jang Shahid, the wazir and the nazim of the Deccan….” When he received the secret embassy on behalf of Canda Saheb, Manaji though that it was a great opportunity for him to distinguish himself among the confederates of Muhammad Alli and he promised to offer the fugitive prince a safe and secret conduct though his territories. Ere long an officer of the Tanjore army came to Canda Saheb with a palanquin and asked him to proceed to Manaji’s quarters where an escort was reported to be waiting for him. When the palanquin reached Manaji’s tent Canda Saheb was put in fetters and made a secure prisoner. Manaji immediately crossed the Kaveri to Tiruccirapalli with his prize and communicated the joyful tidings to Muhammad Ali. The Nawab came out of the fort and honouraby received the captor of his enemy and granted to him the jagir of Kaviladi. The news of the capture of Canda Saheb very soon reached the Mysore and Mahratta generals, each of whom hastended to Manaji and demanded the person of the captive. Lawrence attempted to pacify the competitors and take Canda Saheb under his own protection but did not succeed. Nandiraja and Murari Rao arrayed their troops to obtain, even at the cost of war, the hapless captive, whom they regard as the prize of all their labourers. These preparations alarmed Manaji Rao, who thought it expedient to get rid of his prisoner altogether. His Pathan executioner cut off his head, which was immediately sent to Muhammad Ali, who says Orme, “for the first time saw the face of his rival” (12 June). Later it was tied to the neck of a camel and paraded five times round the walls of Thiruchirapalli, attended by 100,000 spectators, insulting it with obscence and indecent invectives.9 (Orme, Ibid., p.241) In the meanwhile Law, having no alternative surrendered to the English (12 June 1752). About 750 Frenchmen and 2,000 sepoys came out of the Jambukesvaram temple and threw down their arms. Similarly Canda Saheb’s

Jambukesvaram temple and threw down their arms. Similarly Canda Saheb’s troops evacuated Srirangam and were suffered to pass without molestation, but the 1,000 Rajaputs, who were guarding the sanctity of the temple, refused to quit and “threatened their victors to cut them to pieces if they offered to enter within the third wall. The English in admiration of their enthusiasm, promised to give them no occasion of offence.”10 (Ibid.)

The Occupation of the Srirangam temple by the Mysoreans and the French: July, 1752-May 1758
The muder of Canda Saheb and the surrender of the French in Srirangam did not terminate the siege of Thiruchirapalli, for hostilities, ere long, broke out between the Nawab and the Mysore army. When Major Lawrence was preparing to retire with his forces to fort St.David under the thought that the conflict had ended, infact, when he had withdrawn as far as Uttatur, it transpired that Muhammad Alid had, when he appealed to the king of Mysore for help, promised to cede the fort of Thiruchirapalli to Mysore in return for military assistance and the Nandiraja meant to get the fort for himself. When the Nawab made this promise, which was so long kept a secret, he had no possession other than Thiruchirapalli and now, after four years, when he had triumphed over his enemies with the help of the English, the Mahrattas, the Mysoreans and others the fortress was made secure for him and nothing more. Nandiraja on the other hand, thought that the Nawab was shortly going to inherit a large empire and refused to withdraw his demand. Dupleix’s drooping spirits revived and he began to encourage Nandiraja. The Nawab told Nandiraja that he would consider the question of surrendering Thiruchirapalli to him only after he had established his authority over his dominions outside the fort and particularly over the province of Arcot; the Mysore general evinced great indignation at this and threatened to take the fort by force. Ultimately it was agreed on both sides to abide by the decision of Murari Rao, who offered to mediate. According to the mediation a respite of two months was granted to Muhammad Ali, during which he was expected to set right his own affairs and at the end surrender the fort to Nandiraja. As an immediate palliative the Nawab made over to the Mysore general the revenues of the island of Srirangam and a few other places and empowered him to collect them himself. After making these arrangements the Nawab set out on 28 June 1752 with Major Lawrence with a view to subjugate the Carnatic. Captain Dalton, with 200 Europeans and 1,500 sepoys, was left to guard the fort against any surprise attack by the Mysoreans or the Mahrattas, who had camped partly to the west of Thiruchirapalli and partly in Srirangam. Khairuddin Khan, the brother-in-law of the Nawab was appointed regent.

After the Nawab left Thiruchirapalli Nandiraja tried many a time to take the fort by surprise, while scrupulously maintaining all outward forms of friendship, with the help of 700 Mysoreans who had been admitted inside the fort as friends but all the attempts failed thanks to the vigilance of Dalton. The respite of two months came to a close. The Nawab had not returned from his tour of Conquest, when Nandiraja demanded the surrender of Thiruchirapalli. The regent refused the demand with contempt. The Mysorean now gave up all pretence of friendship and openly made preparations for an assault. Dupleix immediately sent a French force to his help. The Nawab received news of these developments in his camp at Tiruvadi (Tanjore district) and at once rushed to Thiruchirapalli. Nandiraja knew that the capture of the rock-fort by open assault from outside was next to impossibility. Hence he decided to withdraw to Srirangam and wait for a favourable opportunity. In the meanwhile he was joined by the French and the Mahrattas. Dalton decided to strike and on 23 December 1752 he left the fort and crossed over to Srirangam, where he found the enemy strongly entrenched within the walls of the Ranganatha temple. Considerable havoc was wrought among their advance guards, who had pitched their tents outside the temple, but Dalton could not force his way into the temple for want of a petard. The next day again Dalton made a sally across the river and took his stand in a great catram opposite to the southern gate of Srirangam. In the engagement that followed Dalton suffered terribly and lost 50% of his soldiers. He struck a precipitate retreat to the fortress and spent his range upon the 700 Mysoreans who were still suffered to remain within the walls of Thiruchirapalli by turning them out. Nandiraja now detached one half of his army and sent them across the river to Thiruchirapalli with express instructions to intercept all convoys of provisions proceeding to the fortress-town. The Mysoreans cut off the noses of the pedlars and other merchants who attempted to bring provisions into the city. This was done so effectively that in a short time all the grain shops in Thiruchirapalli were closed down and the granaries in the fort became empty. On the receipt of an express message from Dalton Major Lawrence arrived in Thiruchirapalli from Fort St.David on 6 May 1753 with a large convoy of provisions. A single sally of Major Lawrence into Srirangam on 10 May convinced him that the enemy was strong. He quietly retreated to the fort and began to concert measures to stock grains but his attempt were far from successful.

Finally Nadiraja and the French numbering in all 450 Europeans, 1,500 sepoys and 8,000 Mysore and Mahratta horse decided to quit Srirangam and cross over to Thiruchirapalli. Their policy was a block all transport of provisions so effectively as to force and defenders of the fort to come out and fight or surrender. With this view they occupied and garrisoned the Golden Rock and the Sugar Loaf Rock, south of the Thiruchirapalli fort, and began to harass the normal supply routes to effectively that Major Lawrence, who knew that there was no time for deliberation, marched out with 500 Europeans, 2,000 sepoys, and only a hundred of the Nawab’s horse, who agreed to accompany him and in a pitched battle fought beneath these rocks defeated the enemy and put them to rout. This victory gave the much needed respite to the besieged city and a considerable amount of food grains was brought into the fortress. This, however, did not solve the problem as the blockade was taken up again with vigour and the civilian inhabitants of the city, unable to get food and other provisions, began to desert it in batches to live in other places. The Nawab and Lawrence now turned their efforts to drive the enemy from the neighbourhood of Thiruchirapalli back to Srirangam and for this purpose obtained reinforcements from Fort St.David and Tanjore, whose king was prepared to back the cause of Muhammad Ali. As Major Lawrence advanced towards Thiruchirapalli with 170 Europeans and 300 sepoys from St.David and 3,000 horse and 2,000 match-locks from Tanjore under the command of Manaji. Nadiraja tried to intercept him, but was defeated again at the Golden Rock (7 August 1753). The reinforcements entered the fort with a convoy of provisions; In September was fought the decisive battle. Major Lawrence led out his troops and attacked the enemy camp extending from the Golden Rock to the Sugar Loaf Rock. The enemy suffered a total defeat and retreated in great hurry to the island of Srirangam abandoning much baggage and ammunition. The plan of starving the fort into surrender by cutting off food supplies had thus proved ineffective. On the night of 27 November about 600 Frenchmen crossed the river and made a daring attempt to take the fort by escalade. Placing the scaling ladders against the walls of the western gate, known as Dalton’s battery, they climbed up the battery without making alarm and bayonetted the sleeping guards, but some of them inadvertently fell into a deep pit left in the structures and their screams roused the nearest defenders. The ladders were pushed down; the French who were firing confusedly in the darkness were imprisoned. About a 100, who tried the experiment of leaping down 18 feet, suffered terribly and some lost

their lives. The undaunted Nandiraja once more attempted to seduce some defenders but a series of conspiracies followed by straggling actions yielded nothing. Under such circumstances Dupleix was recalled by the French ministry in April 1754. His policy was totally reversed by his successor Godeheu as the French and English ministries agreed to cease hostilities in India. Nandiraja hated the English for their help to the Nawab, the promise breaker, and declared that if the Nawab and his whole family would come and throw themselves at his feet, beg for mercy, and own themselves beggars he would be satisfied and withdraw. Exactly a year later he was himself recalled by the Raja of Mysore to face the dangers that were threatening the borders of his kingdom. The Mahrattas and the army of Salabat Jang, accompanied by Bussy, were marching to his frontiers to demand tribute, the former on their own account and the latter on behalf of the Mughal. In obedience to this command Nandiraja quitted Srirangam on 14 April 1755 and marched towards Mysore leaving the island to the French. Hostilities between the English and the French broke out in Europe in 1756 with the outbreak of the Seven Year’s war. Count de Lally, the French plenipotentiary, who reached India in 1758, made Madras and Fort St.David his objectives and did not pay any attention to Thiruchirapalli. That this fort was not his objective is proved by the fact that while he recalled, as a rule, one fourth of the French troops from all their outposts to assist him in his campaigns he summoned the entire garrison of Srirangam to quit the temple and join him at Cuddalore. The French accordingly quitted the temple on 17 May 1758. The Koil Olugu refers to the occupation of Srirangam and the harassment of its citizens by the Unal (Yavanas) of Puducceri (Pondicherry), i.e., the French. “The inhabitants of both the banks (i.e., the northern bank of the Kaveri and the southern bank of the coleroon) took refuge in the temple and closed its gateways. The Unal however, entered the Citra street and the Ultirai vidi (Uttara street), plundered the temple and were contemplating to harass the whole population when Alagiyamanavala Perumal, taking pity on the people brought the sense of sympathy towards the ancient shrine and its helpless inhabitants in the mind of an aged Parangi i.e., European) and, through him, in the minds of others of his class, and thus saved the temple. The men of Puducceri continued in Srirangam for two years troubling the people, but in the third year suffered heavy losses and fled”.11 (KO., p.197) The period of the three years of French occupation

mentioned by the Olugu, may be taken to refer to the period between March 1752, when Jacques Law and Canda Saheb occupied the temple, and April 1755 when Nandiraja evacuated it. Actually they stayed there for three years more. The occupying forces converted the three outer enclosures into a military camp barricading the gateways and mounting guns on the walls. The chronicle, however, is not aware of the service rendered by the contingent of 1,000 Rajaputs belonging to Canda Saheb’s army, who undertook upon themselves the sacred duty of protecting the inner precincts. Ananda Ranga Pillai furnishes some interesting details of the oppression practised by the French on the inhabitants of Srirangam. Under date 23 June 1752 he notes in his Diary: “They say that M.Law will be much blamed after (Jamadar) Shaikh Hasan’s arrival; for his misconduct at Srirangam was indescribable. God smote them because He could no longer bear their injustice to men and women. Thus it was by their own evil deeds that the army was swallowed up and they themselves fell into the enemy’s hands but none knows what further punishment will befall them, All that I hear will fill a hundred pages…..”12 (Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai, VIII, p.103. The alleged misconduct of Law, at Srirangam may refer to his spoliation of Jambukesvaram temple) After the withdrawal of Nandiraja, i.e., when the French were in sole occupation of Srirangam, they appear to have harassed the citizens again and indulged in gross misconduct. Under date 9 December 1755 Ananda Ranga Pillai notes in his Diary. “The Srirangam Brahmanas report that they have received letters saying that (the commandant) M.Flacourt sent 50 sepoys to the house of Achariar (whose name I do not know), and that these men seized and beat him, stole some money and ravished the women, so that all classes of Brahmanas and others - 10,000 persons in all - assembled together, closed the temples of Srirangam and Jambukesvaram and mounted on the gopurams whereon M.Flacourt fled.” 13 (Ibid., p.404) Again under date 14 December he writes, “the Srirangam Brahmanas presented a petition (to the governor M.Leyrit) that M.Flacourt at Srirangam had sent guards to carry off women from Nadamuni Achariyar’s house. The governor read this and gave it to M.Barthelemy, who also read it. I think they have resolved to recall him.”14 (Ibid., pp.406-7)

Srirangam under the French again: November 1759 - February 1760
When the French evacuated the Srirangam temple in May 1758 it was occupied by a contingent of the Mysore army under the brother of Haidar Ali advancing from Dindigul. The occupation of the Mysoreans was short lived for no sooner the French left Srirangam than the English at Thiruchirapalli

made the first serious attempt to occupy it. Captain Gaillaud appointed Joseph Smith to repulse the Mysoreans from Srirangam. Smith took his post in the Jambukesvaram temple and opened a bombardment upon Srirangam from two martars. The challenge was not taken and the same night the Mysoreans decamped leaving considerable military stores and artillery and went back to Dindigul. The temple was occupied by the English and garrisoned with 500 sepoys. Srirangam once again passed under the French Crillon, a commander under Lally, suddenly advanced against the shrine from Uttatur on 20 November 1759. At that moment the temple was manned only by 300 sepoys, 500 Kallans and a few Europeans. Crillon camped opposite the western gateway of the temple, which was strongly fortified. This gateway had been blocked by a partition wall, 20’ high, but this contained an opening in the middle. Hence the English dug a trench and erected a parapet in front of this opening and mounted on the latter a few field pieces; but the heavy cannon of the French demolished the partition wall and disabled the field pieces. Crillon’s troops forced their way in an mercilessly put to the sword the defenders even after they had laid down their arms.15 (Orme, II, p.541) The French occupation of outposts like Srirangam however, depended mainly upon the fortunes of Lally. After his woeful defeat at Wandiwash in January 1760 Lally withdrew to Pondicherry where he made his last stand against the English. He summoned all his troops between Valikandapuram and Thiruchirapalli to join him under the severest penalties of disobedience. The French, 450 Europeans and 1,200 sepoys, withdrew from Srirangam on the night of 6 February 1760. Under date 27 November 1759 Ananda Ranga Pillai notes that M.Fumel (a mistake for Crillon) advanced from Uttatur and captured Srirangam. “Our troops seized Srirangam and plundered two streets; but the Bahmans, Bairagis and Dasaries in the temple closed the gates and refused to open them, declaring that they would rather cast themselves down from the walls and perish than open them. Two streets were plundered and women were ravished. M.Lally ordered a present of 10 rupees(??) to be given to the Harakara, who brought the letter saying that the troops, had reached Srirangam.”16 (Diary of Ananda Ranga Pillai XI, pp.442-43) The Olugu’s reference noted above, of the Unal entering the Citra and Uttara streets and plundering them, most probably refers to Crillon’s assault. The protests of the people are not mentioned by the chronicler, who, in his own way, talks of divine intervention.

The arangetral of the Ramanatakam of Arunacalakavirayar, 1772:

Arunacalakavirayar was a well-known Tamil poet of the 18th century. He composed an open in Tamil dealing with the story of the Ramayana called the Ramanatakam. This work is said to have received its imprimateur from learned pandits in his 60th year in the same place where the Ramayana of Kamban was approved by the academy of poets centuries ago, i.e., the Kambar mantapam in the Srirangam temple. This tradition again shows, as has often been adverted to above, that the life of the temple was not seriously affected by the political and other disturbances of the age.

Occupation of the temple by Haider and Tippu: 1781 and 1790:
Haider Naik, originally an officer of tae Mysore army, gradually rose to be faujdar of Dindigul. By 1759-60 he occupied the first rank in the Mysore army. His usurpation of the throne was complete in 1761. After consolidating his own position in the Mysore country Haider led two expeditions into the Carnatic, in 1767 and 1780-82. But for a few sporadic military actions in the districts of Salem and North Arcot nothing substantial was achieved in the course of the first expedition. The later expedition was a devastating military raid and the region between Pondicherry and Pulicat was sacked. His main target was Madras. Nevertheless in 1781 he closely invested the Thiruchirapalli fort and at a time when it seemed ready to surrender, due to its unpreparedness to stand a siege, withdrew to the north to meet the forces of Eyre Coote. The defeat at Porto Novo in July 1781 broke his power. The Koil Olugu gives the correct date for Haider’s invasion. It says that in S.1703 (A.D.1781), in Ani of Plavanga, (a mistake for Plava) Haider marched with a lakh of soldiers, occupied Tondaimandalam and Colamandalam, destroying the countryside, and surrounded Srirangam. An idea of the terror struck by his approach is provided by the chronicle which says, “A crore of inhabitants could nor contain themselves in the temple”. Haider is said to have quartered his troops in the temple for six days at the end of which he quitted it. A destruction of the temple was averted, it is said, through the interventions of his Brahmana officers. Says the Olugu, “Alagiyamanavala Perumal again intervened and acting as Samayyan, the letter bearer of Haider, obtained a kavul or lease-deed from the latter, making over Srirangam to himself, through the chief accountant of Haider, who was a Srivaisnava, and thus saved the temple.”17 (KO., p.198) After the death of Haider in 1782 Tippu, his son, assumed the supreme command of the Mysore army. Having learnt a bitter lesson from their own inactivity during the advance of Haider the English, under the

their own inactivity during the advance of Haider the English, under the command of Lord Cornwallis, took the offensive against Tippu with a view to forestall his operations in the Carnatic. Towards the end of 1790 Tippu, by means of his dexterous and secret marches, by-passed General Meadows, who had been commissioned to keep the Sultan within the borders of the Mysore country, and descended into the Carnatic with a view to carry the war to the heart of the English dominions. By rapid marches he came to Thiruchirapalli, threatened to storm the fort several times, but actually did not lay siege to it. He crossed over to Srirangam and put the countryside to fire and sword. When Meadows learnt of Tippu’s descent into the Carnatic through the Toppur pass he quickly turned towards the east and on his approach Tippu decamped from Srirangam on 8 December 1790 and retreated in a northern direction burning and pillaging along his route.18 (Hayavadana Roa, Mysore Gazetteer II, (iv) p.2589) The Koil Olugu says that after S.1712 (A.D.1790), in the year Sadarana, Tippu Saheb, of the most cruel temperament, invaded the Carnatic with a huge army and spread desolation alround. He stationed himself and his army in the temple for six days at the end of which he abandoned it. He is also said to have demanded a lakh of gold pieces from the Stalattar, viz., Srirangaraja Vaduladesikar, Rangacaryar and Bhattar for the expenses of his army. This amount, we are told, was refused and before Tippu could wreak his vengeance upon the temple, he had to flee it for his own safety. But the Olugu says that when the amount was refused, “Tippu became wild at which all the inhabitants though there was an end of them. Again Alagiyamanavalan interfered and, as a result, Tippu was pacified through laudatory addresses made by Srirangaraja Vaduladesikar.”19 (KO., p.199) The Olugu says that in the same year, Sadarana, i.e., 1790, Cinnayya Mudali came to the store house of the temple to take paddy for palace use. This obviously means for the use of Muhammad Ali’s household. Srirangaraja Vaduladesikar and others, we are told, made huge protests at the gateway of the storehouse and declared that they would sacrifice their lives, at which the paddy was not taken, The Olugu adds that the Mudali did many repairs to the walls and conducted an abhisheka for the god.20 (Ibid.)

The Assumption of direct control over the administration of the Carnatic by the English (1801)
Muhammad Ali Walajah continued to rule as Nawab till 1795, in which year he died. He late conflicts with his enemies had clearly revealed the nominal character of his power. He owed his crown undoubtedly to the help

nominal character of his power. He owed his crown undoubtedly

to the help

given to him by the English, who were rapidly destroying all resistance to their military expansion. They were, however, loth to assume the responsibility of government. They left it to the local chieftains, who were no other than their own proteges. Their responsibility to the English ceased with the payment of a part of their revenue as subsidy. This sort of government, called the double government, marked the interval between the down-fall of the native governments and the assumption of direct control over the administration by the de facto power, viz., the English. That interval was a period of maladministration and anarchy. Nawab Muhammad Ali had borrowed large sums of anarchy. Nawab Muhammad Ali had borrowed large sums of money from the English company at Madras and to pay off these debts he borrowed indiscreetly from various private persons at rates of interest as exhorbitant as 30 to 36%. Very soon the Nawab of Arcot’s debts became a scandal and the creditors were granted assignments on the revenues of his districts. Sometimes slices of territory were also mortgaged to the creditors, who in their turn became petty Nawabs. Such proceedings went on without check and revealed the effects of an anomalous double government, which were felt even more pognantly, in the Carnatic than in Bengal under the dual system of Clive. The Madras government was the biggest of the creditors of Nawab Wallajah. In December 1781 Lord Macartney, Governor of Madras, concluded a treaty with the Nawab by which the latter assigned five-sixths of the revenues of the Carnatic to the Madras government keeping one sixth for himself. Mr.Sullivan, Resident at Tanjore, was appointed superintendent of Assigned Revenues of ‘Trichinopoly’. Under his energetic supervison some semblance of order was maintained in the Thiruchirapalli district for the time being. This (Check 21 (KO., 199-201 Translations and Summaries of the Mackenzie Mss: 17-6-10 (Tamil), Section 7) arrangement was cancelled by the Board of Directors in England in 1785 and on this count Macartney resigned. It was revived in 1787 and more definitely in 1792. In the latter year Lord Cornwallis concluded a treaty with Nawab Wallajah providing for assumption of control in periods of war. Anarchy in the land, however, continued unabated because the Nawab’s financial position showed no signs of improvement. Under such conditions Muhammad Ali died in 1795 and was succeeded by his son Umtad-ul-Umra. Matters were brought to a crisis, when some letters were discovered, subsequent to the storming of Seringapatnam (1799), implicating both Muhammad Ali and his son in a transonable correspondence with Tippu. In 1801 Umdat-ul-Umra died. By this time, Wellesley, the governor-general, had decided to end double government in the Carnatic. He caught this opportunity and on the very day

government in the Carnatic. He caught this opportunity and on the very day of the death of the Nawab declared his intention to his successor, Ali Husain, and asked whether he would accept a pension from the English company and renounce all claims to rule his kingdom. On his refusing it Azimud-Daula, a nephew of Umdat-ul-Umra, acquiesced in the terms offered by the governor general. He was recognised as the Nawab. He signed an agreement on 31 July 1801 by which he renounced all authority over the cil and military government of the Carnatic and received a pension. In August 1801 John Wallace, an English Collector took charge of the district of Thiruchirapalli. THE NAWABS AND SRIRANGAM From the Uttamanambi-vamsaprabhavam we come to know, as referred to already that out of the 96 villages granted by Cokkanatha to the Srirangam temple Murari Rao Ghorpade recognised 80, 57 of which he assigned to this temple, 14 to the Jambukesvaram temple and 9 to the Tayumanaswamy temple. Anwaruddin Khan and his son Muhammad Ali recognised this arrangement and made over these villages as inam, to Srirangacarya Uttamanambi who was required to pay a nominal annual peshkash of Rs.60,000. His son and successor was Srinivasacarya Uttamanambi, but as he was a minor the 80 villages were constituted into a separate Taluk known as the temple Taluk and entrusted to an amildar, who was to administer those villages on behalf of the minor. But before the ward attained majority the country passed from the control of the Nawab to that of the English.

Dispute over tirta honours: The Nawab’s Decision in the case of Annangar vs.Rangacari, 1796
Towards the close of the 18th century a quarrel between two members of the same family (the family of Annan, i.e., the Kandadais) over the tirta honours in the temple, which had been brewing for a long time, broke out with violence and disturbed the peaceful life of the temple. The Koil Olugu traces the origin of the dispute, while one of the manuscripts of the Mackezie collection gives a copy of the order issued by Nawab Umdal-ulUmra in 1796 after hearing the parties to the dispute and some witnesses who possessed a knowledge of its background. The dispute goes back to the period of the Nayak queen. Mangammal (1691-1706), who patronized one Srirangacarya Vaduladesikar, better known as Dorai Rangacaryar, who had managed to usurp the position of the acarya of the ruler from his own nephew (brother’s son). Sundararaja Vaduladesikar, from his own nephew (brother’s son). Sundararaja Vaduladesikar, the lineal descendant of









Mudaliyandan and a grandson of Srinivasa Desikar of the Olugu and Acarya of Cokkanatha Nayak (1659-82). The quarrel now was between Annangar Varadacaryar, in the line of Sundararaja Vaduladesikar, and Avadanacetti Rangacaryar, in the line of Dorai Rangacaryar. Referring to the cyclic year Pramadi (1793) the Olugu says, “The contemporary Annangar, who was leading a bad life and who had stolen much of the temple property, was dissatisfied with the honours of arulaypadu and tirtam done to him after Peria Nambi as laid down by Manavala Mahamuni, and, impelled by his wealth, desired to occupy the seat of Vaduladesikar i.e., Rangacarya). He tempted the ruler to effect the transfer with an offering Rs.5,000 but the Muhammadan king did not yield. Thus defeated in his purpose he began to accuse Vaduladesikar, the Bandaris (i.e., treasures and storekeepers), the Aryabhattal and others belonging to the Adina of Vaduladesikar of theft from the temple of property worth Rs.30,000 and kept them in custody. This created an uproar in the town.” The officers of Nawab Muhammad Ali now interfered, arrested Annangar and his men and demanded a large sum of money as tribute from the temple. Gopala Rayar, the Diwan of the Nawab, it is said, restored peace in Srirangam and had the prisoners released after obtaining on behalf of the Nawab a large ransom. After some time, however, when Gopala Rayar was no more Diwan, Annangar is said to have obtained one half of the Adina of Vaduladesikar by bribery and once again seized the temple officials and kept them in custody and began to harass the supporters of his enemy. For more than two years he was in power, and “during that time Annangar once announced to the public that none should stir out for a period of 5 nolis, during which time many lakhs of pons were stolen from the temple…” After some time, we are told, Gopala Rayar was restored to power and Vaduladesikar got back the rights and privileges of his Adina in their entirety. After this event Muhammad Ali died (13 October 1975) and was succeeded by Umdat-ul-Umra who is called Nizam-ul-Mulk Bahadur both in the Olugu and the Mackenzie manuscript referred to above. On the appeal of Annangar the new Nawab separated one half of the Adina of Vaduladesikar and assigned it to Annangar in Hijira 1211, i.e., A.D.1796.22 (The Koil Olugu says that Imamulk first separated one half of the Adina of Vaduladesikar and gave it to Annangar and after more than two years Nizamulk restored the whole of the Adina to Vaduladesikar in Kalayukti (1798). Four months after this Nizam-ul-Mulk is said to have restored to Annangar one half of the Adina. It is clear that the Olugu’s account is confused. It is just possible that Imamulk and Nizamulk were two princes of the family of the Nawab) With this decision Vaduladesikar was dissatisfied, according to the Olugu, and he and Parasara Bhattar refrained

from going to the temple. The copy of the Nawab’s decision is interesting and throws light on the insistence on hereditary rights of precedence in receiving the holy tirtam in the divine presence (tirta maryada) on the part of the Stalattar and the Vaisnava Acaryas associated with the Srirangam temple. The question, in other words, was sought to be decided on the basis of the duration of the enjoyment of the right by the respective disputants. The witnesses deposed that Rangacaryar enjoyed no tirta honours before the time of Vijayaranga Cokkanatha Nayak, when tirtam was received in the order of Bhattar. Jiyar, Perianambi and Annangar. The Nayak gave to Rangacaryar the right to receive tirtam first along with Bhattar. This offended Annangar, who resented his having to receive tirtam after the “new comer” (Rangacaryar). It was stated that Rangacaryar enjoyed his rights only from the days of the Nayak while Annangar had his tirta honours from the days of Mudaliyandan. The Nawab declared that Rangacaryar’s contention was wrong, but as he was receiving the maryada from the days of the Nayak he decreed that the parties would receive tirta maryadas twice in a month alternately. The order stated that they would enjoy rusumu (fees) and mirasu (rights) equally, half in half. Without any quarrel they will enjoy their shares in tirtam for ever and look after their own business.” If any one acted against the order he forfeited his rights. This arrangement lasted only for five years. “In Ani of Dunmati” (1801), says the Olugu, “Nizamulk conducted a vigorous investigation with the help of Arunachalam Pillai into the affairs of the shrine and found out that Annangar had stolen 40 seers of gold and pealed the gold plates off the tolukkiniyan, tiruvasi (parts of the divine vehicles) the bathing seat, etc. Araikktalai Singam Pillaiyappan, Bhandari Rangappan and Sattada Arangan gave out that they had themselves given him those articles. In the presence of the Nawab Annangar confused the crime, on which he was fined 1,200 gold pagodas and exiled.”23 (KO., p.202) In Adi, i.e., the next month, the English assumed the control of the temple and John Wallace, the Collector, quashed the Nawab’s judgement of 1796 and gave to Vaduladesikar Srirangacaryar the mamul i.e., the customary right, that was in vogue five years earlier.24 (145 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 74) THE TEMPLE UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE ENGLISH COLLECTOR THE SETTLEMENT OF WALLACE When Azim-ud-Daula assigned the Carnatic to the English in return for a pension in 1801, the temple-Taluk (i.e., the temple with its associate

for a pension in 1801, the temple-Taluk (i.e., the temple with its associate shrines and its lands) passed under their immediate control. John Wallace, the first Collector of the district, took in hand, among other things, the question of the management of the Srirangam temple. He made detailed investigations into the income and expenditure of the temple and recommended to the Madras government the payment of an annual sum of Rs.40,179 to the temple to meet the expenses of worship. The extra income of the temple in the shape of votive offerings, etc., was to be built into a repairs fund. He also fixed the scale of fees payable by holders of important offices in the temple (which carried with them certain rights and honours). A little later the government’s allowance was reduced by about Rs.1,500 and in 1813 (Fasli 1222) was fixed at Rs.35,000 by one Mr.Travers, the then collector of the district. Some of the offices came to be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder but in 1828 this was given up in favour of Mr.Wallace’s settlement, familiarly known as the tittam. This was an indirect recognition of the time honoured hereditary principle. The inhabitants of Srirangam made loud complaints about the insufficiency of the annual allowance from the treasury but nothing was done to enhance it.

An inscription of Pachaiyappa Mudaliar dated 1842:
A Tamil inscription on a slab fixed near the Aryabhattal gateway and dated in S.1764 (A.D.1842) registers an order of the Hindu Sabha of Cennapattanam giving publicity to the benefaction of the well known South India Philanthropist of the last century, Pachaiyappa Mudaliar of Kanchipuram, for feeding Brahmana pilgrims in the Srirangam temple and for engaging a tutor for teaching English to Hindu boys at Srirangam.24 (?? No footnote) A similar inscription is also found at Jambukesvaram.25 (No footnote ??) Both refer to a deposit of a lakh of varahas in the government treasury by order of the Honourable Supreme Court, who appointed the Hindu Sabha at Chennapatnam (Madras) to allocate the interest accruing therefrom for different charitable purposes. By this order the Ranganatha temple was allotted 240 varahas for feeding Brahmana pilgrims in the temple, while the Jambukesvaram temple got 120 varahas for the ardhajamakattalai (midnight offering) in the shrine of goddess Akhilandesvari in the temple. The monthly salary payable to the teacher to teach English to the boys of Srirangam was stated to be 5 varahas.

Thyagaraja’s visit to the Srirangam temple:
The best known composer of devotional songs in South India, who lived in recent times, was Thyagaraja (1767-1847). In the later part of his life he visited the most important temples of South India. According to pious

he visited the most important temples of South India. According to pious tradition he could not go near the procession image of Ranganatha on the day of the horse-vehicle in a certain brahmotsava. He was elbowed out on account of the great crowd of people. Further he was not a Vaisnava and hence could not command any influence even though he was already well known as a great musical composer. Suddenly the procession stopped as the bearers of the divine image could not move forward. People knew that this was due to the wrath of the god. Special pujas were performed and lamps were waved on the spot; raja dasis and Visnu dasis came and danced, all to no purpose. The visit of the saint Thyagaraja and his fruitless attempts to come near the images were soon known to all. The priests rushed to him and implored him to come near and pray to the god to resume the procession. On his appeal the bearers, it is said, were able to move forward. This incident is echoed in his song commencing with the words Vinarada na manavi (won’t you hear my appeal?). After this the Stalattar of the temple did him the unique honour of having darsan of the god in the sanctum alone, when he is said to have sung the piece O Rangasayi.

Copyright © 2005-2007, All rights reserved.

Events of Today

Chapter 11


In the history of the Srirangam temple as in the case of most other temples three powers enjoyed, more or less in succession, supreme authority, viz., the priests in charge of the pujas and festivals, the religious authority, i.e., the saints or acaryas who presided over the mutts, and the secular authority or the king and his officers. In other words the secular authority ultimately triumphed. The priests were hereditary servants of the temple, who originally received their lands and assignments from a king or chieftain, including the right of transfer, on a permanent basis. They were not responsible to any officer of state. Their duties were defined, regulated and supervised by the chief administrative officer of the temple who, in Srirangam was called the Senapati-durantara, himself an acarya or kovanavar. He exercised control not only over the priests who performed pujas in the main and other shrines but the other servants who had miscellaneous functions. When Ramanuja succeeded Alavandar as the head of the Vaisnava darsana and settled in Srirangam he assumed control over the administration of the temple too and appointed Mudaliyandan, his own nephew and disciple, as Senapati durantara. This was inevitable because the control over the temple gave added dignity to the religious head, particularly to a person of the eminence of Ramanuja. The temple was not only a place of worship but, from his days the venue of religious and philosophical discourses. Before the coming of Ramanuja or Udayavar the prabandas of the Alvars were being recited in the temple and the puranas were being read and expounded by the chief priest and these seldom attracted the intellectuals. With the coming of the great teacher of visistadvaita many of his disciples were associated with the administration of the temple. As a result it was not only elaborated and systematised but purified and rendered meaningful. Section I THE UDAYAVAR TITTAM The Koil Olugu describes at length the duties of each of the ten groups of temple servants, supposed to have been fixed by Udayavar, well known as the tittam or arrangement (of Udayavar), and also refers to the

changes to which they were subjected in due course. It is said that from the days of Tirumangai Alvar the temple servants were divided into five groups, viz., Kovanavar, Kodavar, Koduvaleduppar, Paduvar and Talaiyiduvar and that these were expanded into ten groups.1 (KO., pp.46-48. In the Arulappadu of later times this five fold division was corrupted as Kovanavar, Kodavar, Koduppar, Eduppar, Paduvar and Talaiyiduvar) The word kovanavar (kaupinar) obviously refers to the ascetics or the vaisnava Acaryas, who from the days of Nathamuni had associated themselves, with the temple. Kovanavar, as forming one distinct group, is not mentioned under the scheme of Udayavar. Instead the word is used to refer to the family of Mudaliyandan, the Kandadais, who had a hereditary claim to the office of the Senapati durantara, from the days of Udayavar. Kodavar seems to be a corruption of kudavar or pot-bearers.1a (Ibid., pp.56-57) Koduvaleduppar means sword-bearers, Paduvar singers and Talaiyiduvar providers of leaves. The Olugu does not describe this fivefold classification but merely mentions it as a thing of the past. The functions of the ten groups or pattukkottu, as fixed by Udayavar, are described below. The temple chief and his deputies: The chief superintendent of all the temple services was the Senapatidurantara, i.e., the responsible chief of the temple servants. He was also called the Srikaryam. He had complete control over all the temple servants - brahmana and sudra - and the power to punish or reward as the case may be. Since all places were hereditary he had no power of appointment or dismissal. With meticulous details the Olugu describes his functions. “He would bathe himself and proceed to the foot of the flag-staff in the Aniyarangan courtyard and make his obeisance to it. While coming round along the kulasekharan enclosure he would inspect the kitchen and look into the containers, the usual provisions and (the items of) the cakes and curries and other eatables appropriate to the occasion and assign the headcook and the ekangis to their respective duties. Then he would inspect the condiments stores and inquire into the state of ghee and such other liquid stuffs and assign the ekangis there to their appropriate duties ….. Near the strong room adjoining the storehouse, in the Rajamahendran enclosure, he would join the todavattituimaraiyor at the time of the prabanda recitations. From the box of perfumery he would direct his servant, an ekangi, to take sandal-paste, sandal, camphor, musk from Kashmir, collyrium, kasturi and tiruman, medicated camphor, etc., and hand them over to those brahmins (for puja purposes). He would also direct the ekangis to carry to the Nacciyar shrine at the proper times sealed parcels of robes, vestments and

perfumery. Then entering the flower garden he would inspect the purple water lily, the campak the jasmine, the white lotus and other varieties of flowers agreeable to the divine frame and assign them to their respective uses. Appointing the tirukkaragakkaiyar to their respective duties he would proceed to offer worship at the feet of Senaimudaliar. With his permission he would enter the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa and worship Jaya and Vijaya. After this he would meet the Srivaisnava parivaras of the ten groups, the ekangis, the sattadamudalis and the vettirapanis and the ten groups of the sudra parijanas and ask them to do their respective duties with vigilance. Then entering the sanctum he would arrange for commencing the puja.1b (89 of 1938-39) In the afternoon he once again took up his job of supervision and stayed in the temple upto the offering of milk and kasaya or medicinal decoction to the Perumal in the night. “Thus after well looking into the temple administration he would return home with his wife begging, at the Aryabhattal gateway, to be excused for sins of commission and omission.” On special festival days it was his duty to see that all the various services were efficiently done under the supervision of the respective heads of groups. For his services he was honoured in the divine presences with tutam thrice, sandal paste, garlands and betel. Parivattam or silk cloth was tied round his head as a special mark of honour and later untied. The prasadams were taken and delivered to his house by the parijanas of the Nacciyar shrine after the midday puja and offerings in the temple. The Senapati-durantara was assisted by a few deputies. One was the Perum-ulturai-adikari or the Superintendent of the Inner Organisation. He was to supply without fail the personal requirements of the deity, particularly the dishes or the prasadams at the proper times, e.g., rice, boiled milk, ghee, spices, betel, etc. Another was the Head of the Storehouse. He had to send to the kitchen specific quantities of rice and other cereals, vegetables, tamarind, etc. He had to keep an account of the umbrellas used in processions and the materials for the display of fireworks. The Keeper of Miscellaneous stores was entrusted with the task of maintaining the numerous flowergardens of the temple, keep the daily requirements of flowers for puja in readiness and similarly the greens and vegetables to be supplied to the kitchen. One of his duties was to prevent theft or misuse of stores. A fourth was the Supervisor of Reconstruction and Repairs to the temple. In addition to his main function of masonry work he had to keep a routine check on the growth of parasitic plants on the walls and gopuras and erect pandals, water sheds, etc., and decorate them on festive occasions. The Superintendent of the Temple Lands was in charge of the agricultural operations and despatch of grains, fruits, sugar cane,

cocoanuts, ginger, turmeric, etc., to the storehouse. He was also to supply labourers from the villages for service during the festivals. There was also a Supervisor of the cowshed. Each of these six superintendents was assisted by one or two ekangis. The first holder of the office of the administrative chief under the Udayavar tittam was Mudaliyandan. For nearly two centuries the office was exercised by the members of his family. After the Muslim invasions of 1311 and 1323 this family lost its control over the office as they seem to have left Srirangam and did not return in time to claim the office when things became normal. The Koil Olugu says, “Since the Muhammadan occupation the office of the administrative chief is being exercised by diverse persons known as Sriranga Narayana Jiyar, Bhattar, Uttamanambi, Cakrarayar, Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar, Korattu Maniyam (Superintendent with his station on the verandah), Elam Kelvi (Assistant Superintendent), etc.”2 (KO., p.65) Of these the first was an ascetic, who rose to importance in the thirteenth century, founded a mutt and ultimately gained control over some aspects of the administration of the temple.3 (Ibid., pp.114-125) Parasara Bhattar, well known simply as Bhattar, was the son of Kurattalvan, the best known disciple of Udayavar. He was a writer and was in charge of the darsana or philosophy and had nothing to do with management. But his successors enjoyed for brief periods, during the rule of the Rayas of Vijayanagar, some honours due to the administrative chief. Thus the powers and privileges of the office Senapatidurantara came to be divided between Andan (of the family of Mudaliyandan), Bhattar (of the family of Parasara Bhattar) and the Jiyar (of the matha of Sriranga Narayana Jiyar). Uttamanambi and his brother Cakraraya rose to prominence during the Vijayanagar period and were patronised by the Rayas, who looked upon them as the representatives and wardens of the Srirangam temple and handed over their gifts to them for administration. They enjoyed all secular authority but had no claim to religious authority like the Jiyar or Bhattar. Kandadai Ramanuja Aiyangar or Kandadai Ramanujadasa was a non-brahmin (sattada) Srivaisnava, who became a disciple of Kandadai Annan and assumed the dasyanama of Kandadai Ramanujadasa. He came to Srirangam in 1489 and was proatnised by the Raya of Vijayanagar. From inscriptions it does not appear that he enjoyed any administrative authority over the temple. He made a few gifts and provided for a Ramanuja kutam or choutry.4 (Ibid., pp.117-171) Korattu Maniyam and Elam Kelvi were perhaps officers dealing with accounts. The ten Brahmana groups of temple servants:

Udayavar laid down the duties of the following groups of Brahmana servants. (i) The Tiruppatiyar:

These were outsiders, i.e.; those not belonging to Srirangam but who became the disciples of Udayavar and settled down there and were assigned duties in the temple by the acarya. These were assistants to the arcakas or priests and their main function was the lighting and maintenance of lamps in the main and subsidiary shrines in the first three enclosures. They brought flour and ghee from the storehouse, made suitable wick holders out of the dough, placed the wicks in them and handed them over to the arcakas during worship. Similarly they prepared other kinds of lamps like kumbalatti or pot lamp and gave them to the arcakas. For the Tirukkartikai festival they prepared thousand large wicks and brought lighted lamps from the kitchen for worship. Besides attending to the lamps they had a few other duties like announcing the arrival of the taligai or cooked rice offering, screening the sanctum, heaping the rice over the cloth called pavadai and holding torches during the divine meal. After the reconstruction of the Dhanvantri shrine, referred to by inscriptions and the Olugu as the Arogyasala in 1493 they took in procession every night milk and medicinal decoction (kasaya) from the shrine to Garudavahana Pandita for being offered to the Perumal. The duties of the temple servants passed on from father to son and were looked upon, in course of time, as rights and privileges. Some of these were parted under various circumstances, e.g., “of the seven lamps which they (the Tiruppatiyar) used to bring from the kitchen one was given to Uttamanambi as gift and the rest was disposed off independently.”5 (Ibid., p.68) Often they were sold away. (ii) The Tiruppani-saivar or the Kodavar: The main function of this group of servants was the inspection of the streets through which the deity was taken in procession during festivals. They accompanied the row of Srivaisnava hymnists, (tiruvolakkam) during such processions and on their behalf received the offerings made by the devotees, viz., coins, fruits, etc. They also offered the hymnists tirtam and prasadam. At the close of each festival they recited the Tiruppani-malai or Padippu. For this reason, says the Koil Olugu they were called Tiruppanisaivar.6 (Ibid., p.72) In the Vijayanagar period they parted with their rights connected with the inspection of the streets. They were done the

honour of elephant ride as one of them had martyred himself in the boundary dispute with the Saivas of Jambukesvaram.7 (Ibid., pp.139-140) (iii) The Bhagavata Nambis:

Before the days of Udayavar, according to the Olugu, the Bhagavata Nambis installed the flag on the flag staff during the ceremony of dhvajarohanam, seated the images for a procession, offered the made of office to the Srikaryam, ascended the dipastamba or the great lampstand and offered diparadana to the god, during the Kartikai festival, read the ‘epistle to Nammalvar’ on the eve of the Tiruvaimoli festival and performed other miscellaneous duties. Udayavar is said to have raised their status by assigning to them some functions in the sanctum like offering incense during puja, arranging the ornaments of the utsava-beras, holding a mirror before the god at dawn during the ceremony of acamaniyam and when He is adorned with kasturi and tiruman, receiving panakam or sweet drink and offering it to the god, etc. They were generally to assist the Todavattittuimariyor in their performance of puja in the sanctum. The aged and the wise among them were expected to give instructions to pupils in the Paramesvara samhita. In course of time, according the Olugu, they lost all their rights outside the sanctum but “obtained the duty of holding the umbrealla (to the images in procession) from the back of the elephant (vehicle) as a gift from the Talaiyiduvar”.8 (Ibid., p.75) (iv) The Todavatti-tuimaraiyor or Ullurar:

The first name means the pure (brahmins) wearing washed clothes and learned in the vedas. The second means natives of the town. These were the original Srivaisnava inhabitants of Srirangam with their duties mainly in the sanctum and connected with the pujas. They opened doorway of the sanctum, cleaned and kept ready the pancapatras and other vessels required for puja, kept in their custody the washed clothes for decorating the images, offered the amudu or the divine food (consisting of rice, etc.) mirror, jewels and ornaments, kasturi and tiruman whenever they were required, restoring the jewels carefully to the Sribhandara or treasury after use, honoured the Srikaryam with parivattam, sandal paste and prasadam during festivals, added scent to the water for abhisekam held during festivals, added scent to the water for abhisekam held chaures and pearl-umbrellas when the utsava heras were bathed, carried the Satakopan behind processions keeping it on their chests and offering it to those who deserved it, performed some duties when the deity was worshipped in mantapas outside the main shrine during festivals, brought pancakavyam from the kitchen, and performed puja

on behalf of the Senapati durantara. The Olugu says that after the Muslim invasions the Ullurar gave away to the Bhagavata Nambis their duties of bearing the Satakopan behind processions and attending to the pujas in the mantapas outside during festivals. (v) The Vinnappam-saivar: The Vinnappam-saivar or the Arayar were the musicians and choristers of the temple. Early in the morning they played on the vina in the mukhamantapa before the gates of the sanctum were opened, recited the appropriate verses from the prabandas during the morning, noon and night pujas and during tirumanjanam recited the prabandas, dramatising the divine deeds mentioned therein, during the Tirumoli and Tiruvaimoli festivals (i.e., the Adyayanotsava) recited the Tiruppalli-elucci and the Tiruppavai every day in the month of Margali, sang the swing song during the dolotsava and the festivals of Sriramanavami and Srijayanti, and carried on the dialogue between the god and the goddess on the occasion of pranaya kalaham in the Panguni-uttiram festival. They began their recitals when arulappadu or the divine commandent was issued to them. This mentioned their titles too. When the recitations were closed they were honoured with parivattams. These duties have continued more or less without break. The Arayars trace their descent from the nephews of Nathamuni, who first began the recitations of the prabandas under the guidance of the Acarya.9 (Ibid., pp.37-38) (vi) The Tirukkaragakkaiyar: The word means ‘holy water pot carriers’. It was their duty to fetch water from the Kaveri in silver pots or kudams placed on the back of an elephant, make a store of them and fill up the pancapatras and other vessels in the sanctum with the sacred water for all pujas beginning with that at dawn. They offered during the ceremony of washing the teeth of the utsavabera at dawn and for washing its mouth whenever panakam and betel were offered. They had a few duties connected with the supply of garlands called the vellai and the vagaccal. They made a chain of tulasi beads and offered it to the deity to be worn during the holy bath or tirumanjanam. They also supplied the Andal or pins and Arulmari or knives used in the decoration of the procession images and seating them on their vehicles. According to the Olugu the duties connected with the tulasi beads and the garlands were parted in favour of the Dasanambis and a few sudra servants for monetary considerations after the Muslim invasions.

(vii) The Stanattar or Talaiyiduvar:10 (Talaiyiduvar means providers of leaves. Its significance is not clear. This group is also called Stanattar and seems to have enjoyed a high status) These were the bearers of the procession images seated on the mounts or in the capra or palanquin. They bore on their shoulders the long poles to which the palanquin or the vehicle was tied. After the Muslim occupation, according to the Olugu, they gave away their function of bearing the images to sudra servants and kept to themselves the privilege of directing the procession, i.e., “stationing themselves at the head of the poles of the palanquin in order to secure evenness of motion”. They also had the privilege of holding the umbrella from behind the back of the elephant but this was given away to a Nambi by an agreement.11 (KO., p.83) (viii) The Bhattal: While the Arayar or the Vinnappam saivar recited the Tamil verses of the Nalayirapprabandam, the Bhattal recited mainly the Sanskrit pieces, selections, according to the Olugu, from “the itihasas, the Sriranga Mahatmyam the Asvalayana sutra, the Bodhayana sutra the Mimamsa sutra, the vyakarana, the Nalayira Prabandam, the Alavandar stotram, the Sribhasyam, the Gitabhasyam, the Gadyatrayam, and the paneangam”. These recitations were done by Periakoil Nambi before the coming of Udayavar. After the latter assumed control of the temple the former gave away his right of reading the puranas etc., as a gift to kurattalvan, a disciple of Udayavar, who distributed the right among his disciples. The vedas etc., were also included in the recitations besides the puranas. “Subsequent to the puja and the recitation of a verse from the Muvayiram by the Arayar and when arulappadu had been announced by the Ullurar, they (the Bhattar)”, says the Olugu, “would wash their hands with the pure water brought by the Tirukkaragakkaiyar in a huge cup. Then they would respect fully receive the prasadam from their hands and then recite the following one by one. Garudavahana Pandita would lead with the Rigveda, Periya Nambi would recite the yajur and the sama vedas, the Tiruppani-saivar the Atharvanaveda, the Bhagavata Nambis and Kurattalvan the Puranas, Tiruvarangattamudanar, Govinda Perumal, Accan, Pillan, Ciriyalvan, Nadadur Ammal and others from various sacred shrines along with their co-preceptors would one by one recite the itihasas”, etc.12 (Ibid., pp.84-85) They recited the purusa suktam during the tirumanjanam. On the Kaisika Dvadasi day they read the Kaisikapurana. The vedas, etc., were, obviously, recited during the Adyayanotsava and not daily. At the end of the prolonged recitations they

were honoured, like the Arayars, with tirtam, sandal paste, parivattam, etc., and were taken to their homes in the Brahmarata13 (A raised plank tied to poles and carried by bearers) accompanied by all the temple servants. As the temple became pronouncedly Tenkalai in spirit the Sanskrit recitations were discontinued gradually. (ix) The Arya Bhattar: These were the watchmen and guards of the temple. As their name indicates they seem to have come from North India. The Koil Olugu says that a certain chieftain of Gaudadesa (Bengal) came to Srirangam and offered a huge treasure to the god, who was not pleased to accept it. The chieftain is said to have appointed some brahmanas from the north to guard the treasure and returned. Since these brahmanas pleased the god by their single minded devotion and service, the latter not only accepted the treasure but also honoured them with the service of the temple watch. The Olugu gives the date Kali 3260 (A.D.159) for this incident, but almost all the Kali dates given by the Olugu are fanciful and unreliable. Hence it is not possible to say who this chieftain of Gaudadesa was. From inscriptions it is known that pilgrims from the north used to visit south Indian temples in the medieval period and make gifts.14 (ARE.1928-29, pt.II, para 36) The earliest mention of Aryabhattal occurs in an epigraph of Srirangam dated in 39th year of Kulottunga I (1109). It registers sale of land by the temple authorities to a certain Ariyan Vasudevan Bhattan alias Rajaraja Brahmarayan of Anisthanam in Kasmira desam.14a (14 of 1936-37) This refers to the visit to the temple of a Kasmir brahman and his receipt of land, which indicates that he had settled in Srirangam and taken up some service in the temple. Visits by North Indians to the temple might have occurred even much earlier because, as testified to by Tirumangai Alvar, it had become in his days, i.e., the 8th century, famous both in the north and the south and attracted devotees from all sides. One such affluent pilgrim might have been the chieftain of Gaudadesa, mentioned by the Olugu who probably came not merely with treasure but with a set of brahmana servants with the avowed intention of dedicating them to the temple. These were accepted only after some hesitation. An inscription of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I, dated 1225 in Srirangam, specifically mentions the Ariyar among the various servants of the temple.14b (53 of 1892; SII IV.500) An inscription of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I dated 1261 mentions VasalAriyar.14c (89 of 1938-39) The Aryabhattal kept watch from the southern and northern gateways

of the third enclosure, which are known after them, slept in the nights between this pair of gateways and the next inner pair, opened these gateways at dawn when the Tirukkarasakkaiyar came to take the water pots, and kept watch carefully with torches in their hands” over “the incoming and outgoing of articles throughout the day and night in the first two enclosures and outside the gateway of the sanctum, with the store house excepted”. According to the Olugu they were honoured with arulappadu when the god, taken in procession, reached the third gateway. The divine commandment referred to both the Aryabhattal and the lord of Gaudadesa.15 (KO., pp.7, 86) (ix) The Dasanambis:

These were the providers of flowers and flower garlands. They laid out flower-gardens, made varieties of flower garlands and bunches called vagaccal, killimalai, kiliccendu, tandaimalai, kottumalai, kudamalai, etc., decorated the palanquins with the flowers for processions, held the torches in the divine presence near the doorway of the sanctum, and bore the Sanaimudaliar and the Dasamurtis in procession during festivals. For these services they were honoured with tirtam, prasadam, parivattam and a single garland. The Vettirapanis: The above ten groups of brahmana servants are popularly associated with the organisation of Udayavar, but there were others too. The Olugu itself gives different lists.16 (Ibid., pp.48-50, p.90) The Vettirapanis or mace-holders were the orderlies of the temple. With the aid of two gold rods, two silver rods and two canes, which were also the symbols of their office, they kept order in and near the sanctum during the starting of the procession, went in advance and made way for it in the streets, kept watch outside the tirumantapas whenever the Perumal was stationed there during festivals, admitted the Srivaisnavas according to their qualifications to the presence of the deity to receive tirtam, prasadams etc., made triumphal shouts accompanied by clapping of hands when the procession started and shouted ‘silence’ on the special occasions of the Tiruvandik-kappu and the commencement of the prabanda recitations. The Ekangis The duties of drawing on the cloth screen during food offering or nivedanam and drawing it off when it is over, keeping watch at the doorway

during puja, acting as the guard of the deity in the tirumantapa in the night, fetching provisions like ghee, jaggery, cardamum, frankincense, camphor, sandal paste and kumkum from the store house, etc., were done by the Ekangis, who were brahmana bachelor servants (i.e., unencumbered by families.17 (Now the term is applied to non-brahman servants with duties outside the sanctum) THE TEN SUDRA GROUPS OF TEMPLE SERVANTS (i) The Vellalas: The Koil Olugu refers to the Kalalappan and says that his duty was to measure the grain in the granary with the marakkal and supply the required quantity for daily use in the temple. Another Vellala by name Koil-katta Perumal guarded the gateway of the Rajamahendran enclosure. The temple accountant was also a Vellala and was called Vilupparaiyan. The term Vellala commonly refers to cultivators and the Olugu obviously has not included the cultivators of the temple lands in the villages, far and near, among the temple servants. According to this chronicle Udayavar wanted to entrust the accounts to a Brahmana but was pursuaded by the local dignitaries to let the Vellala remain. However he created another post called Stala-samprati and appointed a vellala, Vansatakopadasan, to it. The two officials came to be known as Pallavan Vilupparaiyan and Pandyan Vansatakopadasan respectively.18 (Pallavan and Pandyan are said to be names given by the respective kings to perpetuate their memory in the temple) “Of these the duties of Pallavan Vilupparaiyan were writing epistles to the Alvar, writing down documents of the Senapati and carving inscriptions on stone. The duties of Vansatakopadasan were writing the lease deeds and mortgage deeds and taking copies of the documents of the Senapati and the stone inscriptions. Both had equal jurisdictions with regard to the accounts of the store house and the temple lands including the day-book.”19 (KO., p.91) According to the chronicle the first office became extinct for want of successor. The accountant appointed in his place was called Sriranganarayanapiran. Both the offices carried a few honours and the Olugu refers to quarrels over precedence. (ii) The Saluvar:

The Koil Olugu next mentions the duties of the group of servants called the Saluvar. They had miscellaneous functions like the ilanir kainkaryam or offering the water of the tender cocoanuts to the god, setting up the

circular platform for the holy bath, adorning the horse vehicle of the god during brahmotsavas and fanning the deity with camaras stationed on either side of the vehicle, blowing the conch and the trumpets, offering clay for sealing the locks of doorways, removing the used fuel from the kitchen and bringing plantain leaves from the gardens. Later they acquired the function of climbing up the Karttikai dipastambha and setting alight the dipa. (iii) The Emberumanadiyar:

The Emberumanadiyar or the Devadasis (‘Female servants of God’) were the dancing woman attached to the temple. The following were their duties: dancing the sporting in front of the decorated elephant carrying the sacred water to the temple from the Kaveri, performing the kinds of dances like malaippu, kelikkai, ulamadal, ammanai, etc., during the tinuandikkappu and the festive processions, enacting the appropriate episodes during the Vasantotsava, enacting the rasakrida on the day of Krisnajayanti and on special occasions, dancing in honour of each divine vehicle during the ritual of bheritatanam in the brahmotsavas and performing the malaippu from behind the Arayar. One of the Devadasis adorned herself after bath and stood in the Alagiyamanavalan tirumantapa “well in sight of the god” during the early morning service when the elephant, the cow, etc., were presented. They are said to have captivated the Muslim generals when they had occupied the temple and saved it from destruction. When any of them died her corpse was, for this reason, cremated by fire brought from the temple kitchen. (iv) Tiruvelakkarar:

These were entrusted with the functions of watch and ward. They guarded the store house, the room containing the canopies, drums and umbrellas, the hall of the divine vehicles (vahanasala) etc., brought the grains, jaggery, and other provisions from the adjoining villages and deposited them in the granary or the store house and waited along with the parijanas when the procession started. (v) The Kammalas: The sculptors, masons and metal workers were grouped under the artisan class called the Kammalas. The sculptor-mason called silpacari attended to masonry repairs of the gopuras, decorated the kalasa on the vimana, made images of stucco, carved out stone images and painted figures on the walls of the mantapas etc. The goldsmith repaired the jewels and ornaments of the deities, polished them frequently, made “the seven

ornaments appropriate to the seven days of the week,” attended to the duties connected with the Jyestabhisekam and provided the divine vehicles with a covering of gold plates. The copper smith and the bell-metal worker made the plates and pots used in worship, cast lamp stands, bells and gongs and provided artistically decorated coverings for steps, stairs and pedestals. Casting of metal images was obviously an expert’s job and when a need arose skilled professionals were employed for the purpose. (vi) Needle workers, etc.: The needle-workers or tailors, carpenters and silk-weavers formed one group. The first stitched a few items of the divine dress like the kabai or full frock and adorned them with pearls, prepared the ornamental and embroidered borders and pieces of cloth required in the decoration of the ceiling and stitched the canopy and the blankets. The second made the divine umbrellas, the huge round fans, the birudas or badges of honour and parts of the palanquins and decorated the dhwajastamba and the mantapas with tinsel. The last made garlands of silk thread, bunches of loose silks and tassels, all for the decoration of the vehicles of the god. (vii) The Washermen: These washed and dried the divine garments, offered the cloth called the tiruppavadai for spreading the taligai or rice offering to the god and, whenever necessary, dyed the clothes used in the decoration of the ceilings of the mantapas. (viii) The Potters: As it was (and still is) the practice in the Srirangam temple to prepare the prasadams in fresh earthern vessels daily the potters made a daily supply of fresh cauldrons, vessels, etc., to the temple kitchen for the preparation of the taligai and other prasadams. They carried the pots in which a few kinds of cereals were sown for the ceremony of ankurarpanam and prepared the earthen lamps for display during the Tirukkattikai festival. (ix) The Boatmen: As Srirangam is skirted by the twin rivers, the Kaveri and the Coleroon, the service of the boatmen was necessary. When the rivers were in floods they brought to the temple milk and other provisions from the villages nearby. They served as rowers during the Teppotsavam or float festival and supplied, like leaves, stems, mats, baskets and floats and also

fruits like oranges and lime, which were all grown on the river banks. (x) The Musicians:

These were all instrumentalists like the pipers, the drummers, etc. The nattuvar or dance-masters were also included in this group. The former, said to belongs to the Alagiyamanavalan group, were “masters of the five kinds of musical instruments”, and they played to the tune of the Arayar during the ceremonies like the padiyerram and when dances were performed by the temple dancers. On these occasions they also played individually the five kinds of talam, “mattalam, suttalam, celli-mattalam, vagai and avijam.”20 (Ibid., pp.99-100) References to the temple services and organisation in inscriptions: Inscriptions found on the walls of the temple mostly register the donations made by different persons for specified purposes and hence they cannot be expected to throw light either on the administrative organisation of the temple or its authors; but there are indirect and hence valuable references in them to some of the services said to have been organised by Udayavar according to the traditional sources. They throw some fresh light too on administration, e.g., the Mahasabha of assembly of Srirangam and few of its committees are mentioned in an inscription of Kulottunga I, dated in his 18th year (1088).21 (62 of 1892; SII, III, 70) This records the provision of 6! kasu made by Arayan Garudavahan alias Kalingarayar for offerings on three nights when the text Tettarundiral (the 2nd ‘ten’ of Perumal Tirumoli by Alvar Kulasekhara) was recited. This epigraph is important because it gives a few authentic details regarding the organisation of the temple in the time of Ramanuja. By order of the manager of the temple (Srikaryam saigira adikarigal Nisadarajar, the last word being the proper name,)22 (Adhikari Nisadarajar is mentioned in other inscriptions of Kulottunga I, viz. 123 and 124 of 1938-39) the arcakas or pujaris (kanmi) entered into an agreement with the donor with regard to the administration of the endowment. The pujaris (i.e., the temple priests), themselves belonged to several groups. The following two are mentioned, (1) Srivaisnava variyam or members of the committee of Srivaisnavas, to which belonged Tiruvalndi-valanadu-dasar (valudi=Pandya), Vadamaduraippirandan Nambi, Iraiyurali Nambi and Narayana Nambi of Markkamangalam, and (2) Sribhandaravariyam of members of the committee of the treasury to which belonged Kurugaikkavalan, Aravamudu, Tiruvaikkulam-udaiyan Sriraghavan and Kesuvan Tani-ilanjingam. The last three are said to belong to the Harita gotra. An accountant of the assembly and an accountant of the Srivaisnavas

gotra. An accountant of the assembly and an accountant of the Srivaisnavas are also mentioned. The administration of the endowment was to be supervised by the Mahasabha of Tiruvarangam. The grant provides for the supply of cereals ghee etc., for 100 cakes to be offered to God Ranganatha when He was hearing the recital of the Tettarundiral seated beneath the sacred Punnai tree, on the night of that day on which the bathing water of the idol was distributed among the devotees during the car festival in the month of Aippasi and the festival in Panguni. As far as we know Ramanuja was in Srirangam in 1088 and the absence of the mention in this inscription of Udayavar or Mudaliyandan, who were so intimately connected with the affairs of the temple according to literary tradition, is surprising. But happily the names of Garudavahana and Tiruvaludivalanadar are preserved by literary tradition and are associated with Udayavar as his disciples. The inscription of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I, dated in his 9th year (1225), was considered in detail, in chapter V above, and its importance for the administrative history of the Srirangam temple pointed out. This inscription clearly refers to the ‘ten persons’, i.e., the chiefs of the ten groups of (Brahmana) temple servants and mentions five groups by name, viz., the Bhagavata Nambis, the Sripadamtanguvar (or the Stanattar Koil Olugu), the Vinnappamsaivar, the Aryabatta and the Bhattal-kottu. It also refers to the Srivaisnava devotees of Emperumanar (Udayavar), among those who took part in the deliberations, and to the Sribhandara or the temple treasury. The king ordered a fresh choice of the temple officials immediately by lot and then annually by election. Section II ROYAL INTERVENTION AND REGULATION It was said at the outset that the secular authority ultimately established its control over the affairs of the Srirangam temple. Inscriptions show that the Pandyas of the Second Empire and the Rayas of Vijayanagar interfered with and regulated its administrative affairs. Both were donors of note and more than that resuscitators of the temple, the one from the Oddas and the other from the Muslims. Appearing as saviours and grand patrons they were naturally inclined to have their say in the matter of the government of the temple. Maravarman Sundara Pandya I ordered in 1225 that the heads of the ten groups of temple servants, who had co-operated with the hostile Odda invaders and squandered the property of the temple, both movable and immovable, besides collecting Oddukasu, were to be dismissed from the temple services. To fill their places fresh persons were to be chosen by lot. At the end of each year

places fresh persons were to be chosen by lot. At the end of each year they were to be replaced by election.23 (53 of 1892, SII. IV, 500) From the Cola inscriptions it is known that the members of the village councils or sabhas were elected by lot and out of those so elected variyams or committees were formed for specific purposes but, from what we know from traditional and literary sources, temple services were hereditary and carried with them certain rights and honours and nothing more. But here is a king who not only dismisses the temple servants from their posts but orders their replacement by elections to be repeated annually. The inscription adds that the annual election was to apply also to the various committees of the Srivaisnavas (Srivaisnava-variams). The Koil Olugu makes no reference to such committees nor to the choice by lot or election. It refers to holders of rights who parted with them by sale or gift. It is probable that the order of the Pandya regarding the election of the temple servants was ignored in due course and the offices once again became hereditary. Collapse of the authority of the Kovanavar: The prodigious gifts and endowments of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I have been described earlier. After making gifts of gold jewels, images, vessels and platters, pedestal, throne, armour for the god, etc., all of gold, the king was naturally concerned about their proper guard and maintenance. Two records dated 1261, bear eloquent testimony to the anxiety of this king with regard to porkaval or guard of the temple treasury.24 (84 and 89 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 28) One registers an order of the king that the guard of the treasury was no longer to be the responsibility of the Kovanavar or the Acayas belonging to the family of Mudaliyanda, i.e., the Kandadais, to which the Senapati-durantara belonged, but the Ariyar, i.e., the Aryabhattal and the Ullurar were also to be associated with it. His officer Vanadaraya was to enforce it. The next order, issued only a month later, is said to have been proclaimed by the god at the request of the king. This does not confine itself to the guard of the treasury but speaks of the temple management as a whole and says that it was not to be a monopoly of ten persons belonging to the Kovanavar Kottu or group. It was now to be entrusted to a body of ten composed of two from the Kovanavar, two from Srirangamaraiyar, i.e., the Srivaisnavas of Srirangam, learned in the Vedic lore, one from the Todavattituimaraiyor or Ullurar, i.e., the arcakas, one from Vasal-Ariyar, i.e., the Aryabhattal and two from ArattamukkiAnakkur, i.e., officers and associates of the king. This Tamil name is very expressive of the power and authority of those who acted in the name of the king.25 (The word means one who threatens and puts dawn. Arattamukki is used in periya Tirumadal (3.4.10) to mean petty chieftains [Tamil Lexicon]

is used in periya Tirumadal (3.4.10) to mean petty chieftains [Tamil Lexicon] ) While the Koil Olugu refers to the ten groups of temple servants it does not speak of a managing committee of ten Kovanavar; instead it mentions the Senapati-durantara, a Kovanavar, who was assisted by six superintendents. From the inscription we come to know that about 1261 there was such a committee, whose members belonged to one family and that the Pandya diluted it with fresh elements, particularly his own officials. The introduction of ex-officio members in the managing committee of the temple is a new feature. This shows clearly that the faith which Udayavar placed in the Senapti-durantara no longer obtained. This inscription is said to have been engraved at the instance of Sriranganarayana Dasan, the manager of the temple, and attested by Kannudaiyan Pallavan Vilupparaiyan, the temple accountant. In the Vijayanagar period the royal control became tighter but it was exercised indirectly. The Rayas of Vijayanagar restored the temple from the Muslims and made large endowments both in cash and landed property but did not attempt to associate their officers directly with the temple management; instead they encouraged local men like Uttamanambi to wield power over the temple. This was so because they were respecters of Hindu tradition and the autonomy of the Hindu temples and mathas, but in as much as they superseded the old office-bearers, whether heriditary or elected, with men of their choice, the autonomy was, in effect, nominal. Soon after the restoration the temple received plenty of landed property. Gopana Udaiyar, it was said above, donated to the temple 52 villages at a cost of 17,000 gold pieces. Thus arose the problem of looking after the temple lands scattered in different places. An undated record in the Srirangam temple, assigned to the 14th century on palaeographic grounds and purporting to be an order issued by god Ranganatha, directs a council of 23 members - 10 selected from out of the 10 groups of temple servants, 4 from the sanyasins (ascetics) and desantris (pilgrims), 5 representing the 18 mandalas (divisions of the country) and 4 representing the Cera, Cola, Pandya kings and the Ksatriyas of the north (the four together standing, perhaps, for rulers in general) - to appoint sanyasins versed in Vaisnava lore and with the interests of the temple at heart, to look after the properties of the temple situated at several places. Provision was to be made for their maintenance and armed Velaikaras (servants) were to be placed at their disposal to help them in the discharge of their duties.26 (51 of 1938-39; pt.II, para 71) This inscription probably belongs to the period after the restoration (1371) or to the years before 1323, for between 1323 and 1371 the temple had lost its all. The sanyasins, it was expected, would act

1371 the temple had lost its all. The sanyasins, it was expected, would act not only disinterestedly but would command respect from among the people. In their appointment the representatives of the kings had a voice. These were obviously not royal officials but their nominees. The Koil Olugu laments the collapse of the Udayavar code and the rise of new men, who were mere householders without any pretension to learning or spiritual attainments like Uttamanambi and Cakraraya, in the place of the office of the Senapatidurantara, a Kovanavar, descending hereditarily in the family of Mudaliyandan. The offices multiplied. Interferences in the administration of the temple continued under the Nayaks, while the Nawabs of Arcot seem to have exercised a judicious non-interference as a result of which the heriditary principle became re-established. The offices of Udayavar with specified functions had disappeared for ever. Royal Intercession in Boundary Disputes: Different from the control sought to be imposed upon the temple by the king or his officials, directly or indirectly, was the royal intervention to settle boundary disputes between the Srirangam temple and the neighbouring Saiva temple of Jambukesvaram. Such intercession was welcomed by the temple. Two such cases have been noticed earlier. One occurred in the reign of Cola Kulottunga III. One of his records in the Srirangam temple gives details of his order issued in his 20th year (1198) to his tax collecting officers to settle the boundary between the lands belonging to the two temples, which had been washed away on account of the erosion of the river Kollidam. Disputes had been growing for nearly a year. The services of a third party were necessary and the king’s mediation was sought or imposed. In any case the arbitration of the officials was accepted, as it was satisfactory to both the parties. The record says that the officials held consultations with the representations of both the temples, representatives of the sabha, accountants of the two villages and the superintendents or wardens of the two temples. While adjudging the award they took into account not only the holdings of the two temples before the erosion as known from records by the actual enjoyment rights of both the parties as obtained then and there and suggested suitable exchange of lands in some cases.27 (113 of 1938-39) Incidentally it may be noted that his record refers to the tax collecting officers as puravu vari-kurusaivar, i.e., the officers who collected taxes making a distinction or division (kuru) between tax-free (puravu) and taxable (vari) lands. The other boundary dispute arose, according to the Vaisnava chronicles of Srirangam, over the practice of taking the image of Ranganatha in

of Srirangam, over the practice of taking the image of Ranganatha in procession to the Jambutirtam in Jambukesvaram on the 8th day of Panguniutiram festival. The Saivas objected to this and took the case to Vijayanagar. The Vaisnavas of Srirangam too sent their representatives. The Raya (Devaraya II, 1426-1446) sent a few arbitrators, the boundary line was marked as described earlier and a wall erected in 1433. Oppression by governors: The governors or mandaladipatis of the Rayas of Vijayanagar were sometimes oppressive and collected unauthorised taxes from the temple-lands which were all tax-free. As a result of this oppression, says an inscription of Devaraya II, dated, 1427, the cultivators of the devadana lands belonging to the Saiva and Vaisnava temples in the Thiruchirapalli and the neighbouring rajyas threw up their holdings and migrated elsewhere thus jeopardising the conduct of worship. When the people began to make loud complaints the Raya issued an order prohibiting the collection of taxes excepting the customary vibhutikanikkai and sent two agents to the south to enforce the order.28 (113 of 1936-37; pt.II, para 56) Koneriraja was another governor who oppressed the Srirangam temple, in particular, between the years 1488 and 1492. He not merely collected taxes from the temple lands but imposed various levies on the Vaisnavas of Srirangam like pattana-vari (municipal tax) and kudiyiruppu (house tax) and took away much money and gold from the temple as kanikkai (tribute) and pattu and parivattam (honours to the king). The self immolation of a few temple servants and jiyas to protest against this oppression has been referred to earlier in detail. Section III INCOME AND EXPENDITURE The temple did not collect levies from the worshippers. There is no evidence in the inscriptions or the in the Olugu to show that any fee was collected from any worshipper for darsan or for the performance of any seva or a special mode of worship. All its income was derived from free gifts of land, gold, cash and various articles in kind made by individuals, high and low. The grants themselves often clearly laid down how the land or money was to be utilised. The land and money gifted were detailed and registered in inscriptions on the walls and pillars of the temple. The accountant of the temple recorded the same in the Olugu or the diary of the temple in the presence of witnesses.

There does not seem to have been any machinery for the enforcement of the grant in letter and spirit. Grants of gold or money were formally handed over to the sabha of Tiruvarangam, which also undertook formally to fulfill the conditions of the grant. It is not clear what exactly was the relationship between the sabha and the temple. The sabha or the local council, which was responsible for the local administration of the township, obviously must have exercised some control over the temple, which after all was the heart of the township. As the temple was a large landowner, there is no doubt that it was represented in a big way in the sabha. The inscriptions often conclude with a few imprecatory verses, which promise great merit as well as rewards for those who implicitly carried out the purposes of the donation and at the same time remind the sinners who misused the grant of the dire consequences of their act. The grant is often placed under the protection of the Srivanisnavas (Sri Vaisnava raksai). The chief items of expenditure of the temple were the daily Performance of the pujas and the celebration of the occasional festivals, most of which were covered by specific donations. Since circulating money was not involved in a large scale in the case of incomes so was the case of expenditure. The temple servants were not paid salaries in cash but they had their share of the prasadam or cooked food and eatables, which were first offered to the deity and then distributed among them and also, in smaller quantities, among the worshippers. The priests and acaryas, the latter noted for their learning and spiritual attainments, received gifts of land or house-sites from pious donors. Types of benefactions: Here is given a peep into the variety of gifts known from inscriptions excluding structures, i.e., shrines, walls, gopuras, etc., and images, both stone and metal, for worship. Many inscriptions record gifts of money for burning permanent lamps (nandavilakku) in the temple. Sometimes cows were provided for the supply of ghee for burning lamps. Lands for rearing flower gardens were often gifted to the temple. Gold coins kasu, gadyanas, varahas, pons, etc.), were gifted for the institution of some sandi or service i.e., worship along with offerings, on a particular day when the god was taken in procession to a particular mantapa during a certain festival and so on. The object of the gift was to commemmorate one self or his father or son and in, one instance, his teacher. Grants of villages were made, on a large scale, in the Vijayanagar and Nayak periods. The villages were often purchased from private individuals

Nayak periods. The villages were often purchased from private individuals and gifted to the temple. Gopana granted 52 villages at a cost of 17,000 gold pieces. Devaraya II gifted 11 villages on different occasions. Villages were mostly given away to the temple with all rights (sarvamanya), when they became the devadana or tiruvidaiyattam lands. Food grains harvested in these lands were brought and stored in the eight gigantic granaries in the third enclosure of temple. They were tax-free or irai-yili. Sometimes only the income from taxes of a village or villages was gifted. In 1673 Cokkanadha Nayak of Madura made a gift of 50 villages and recognised the 40 and odd villages already in possession of the temple and issued a tamrasasana (copper plate grant) to Uttamanambi giving details of 96 villages as the property of the temple. Villages or lands were gifted by royal officers and private persons too as poliyuttu for purposes of acquiring merit of the donor or his son or father to be utilised for the conduct of the daily worship and offerings specified as cakes, curd-rice, sweet-rice etc. or for the conduct of a special service, e.g., the provision of pulugu-kappu (civet ointment) to the god every Friday. A village called Naruvuru was gifted in 1414. It was to be renamed Ranganathapura. Out of its income a daily service to the god was to be instituted with the full round of offerings of food, waving camphor lights, sandal paste, flower garlands, incense, etc., a flower garden was to be maintained and garlands supplied, a catra for the pilgrims was to be constructed and 12 brahmanas were to be fed daily therein with rice, dal, four vegetable curries and butter-milk with betal leaves and nuts, and eight brahmanas in Naruvuru were to be given each some rent-free land. Lands were gifted sometimes for prabandic recitations, e.g., to reward those who recited the Iyarpa. House-sites and lands were gifted for the supply of alms (musti-madhukaram) and the sacred threads (yajnopavitas). The paraphernalia of worship often formed the subject of donations. The benefactions of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I have been dealt with earlier. Among other objects given in the Vijayanagar and Nayak periods were gold dishes and cups for offerings amudu to Ranganatha, gold kalasa or pot for storing water for puja, gold lampstand, metal cuirass (breast and back plates), kancuka or vestcoat inlaid with precious stones, pearl garment (muttangi), a jewelled kirita or crown for the goddess, girta and karnapatra (ear-ring) for the god, padakam or pendent, etc. The kings occasionally performed tulabhara or tulapurusa ceremoniesi, in which they weighed themselves against gold, cash and jewels and gifted them away to the temple. The gold plates that covered the vimana and the dhwajastambha were renewed now and then or repaired and relaid.

dhwajastambha were renewed now and then or repaired and relaid. The temple chronicle and traditional accounts record the multifarious gifts and services of Vijayavanga Cokkanatha Nayak and a few others like Kandadai Ramanuja-dasa, which are not mentioned in inscriptions. It is a fact that neither the granaries nor the temple, treasury had any guard for protecting the grain or valuables against an armed attack by enemies. The Aryabhattal and other watchmen, etc., were intended more to prevent theft and misappropriation by the temple servants than to defend the temple in a crisis. Any such threat was not expected and hence no security measures were taken. As a result the temple lost all its property in the course of the Muslim invasions of the first quarter of the 14th century.

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